Arletta Mae Hempel went to rest in the loving arms of our Saviour Aug. 20, 2002, after a brief illness with spinal cancer.
She was born May 25, 1920, the only child of Howard and Susie Litch of Amherst, S.D.
A resident of South Whidbey for the past 20 years, Mrs. Hempel was active in the Progressive Club of Clinton, the American Legion Auxiliary and was an enthusiastic participant in charitable Bingo games.
The Litch family fled the poverty and drought of the 1930s Midwest and relocated in South Seattle, where Mrs. Hempel graduated from Cleveland High School in 1938. She earned a letter in athletics, and at the playfield it was concluded that she could outrun every kid there.
After high school and marriage, she and husband, the late Weldon F. Hempel operated a Catholic Church-sponsored home for boys in Bellingham. She was active in the church school and served as a Scout den mother. As a union waitress in the Seattle area, she was a loyal supporter of organized labor. She enjoyed recounting her experiences at the old Frederick & Nelson Tea Room and Men’s Grill serving dignitaries, celebrities and businessmen, who were regulars at her tables.
She often retold of her experiences in the cyclones in the Dakotas, when the family took refuge in the cellar of their rural home. During an intensely fierce storm, her family reached the safety of the cellar, but her little pet pig was missing. The pet porker survived without a scratch and was at the door when the storm moved on.
Her survivors include three daughters, Patricia and Ray Hanchett of Des Moines, Peggy and Robert Horton of Auburn, and Michel and Victor Morrano of Cookeville, Tenn.; a son, Weldon Hempel of Deming. Her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren called her Grandma. She will be remembered by neighbors and friends for her beautiful flower gardens.
Memorial contributions can be made to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45240, or an organization of the giver’s choice.
A memorial service to honor her will be announced later. Visser Funeral Home, Langley, is in charge of arrangements.