Arlene Rainey of Benton, Arkansas, passed away peacefully in her sleep, at the age of 105, on November 12.
Born October 14th, 1916, in Benton to Cora (Caldwell) and C. D. “Bullet” Hyten, Arlene is one of four children. Two brothers died as young children; her older sister, Norma, died in 2002.
Arlene attended public schools in Benton and graduated from Henderson State Teachers College in 1939. She met her husband-to-be, Nelson Rainey, in college. They were married in 1941; he died in 1999.
During World War II, as Nelson served in the Army, Arlene worked alongside her beloved father at his pottery shop in Benton. She also followed Nelson to posts in Washington State and California.
After the war, Bullet died and Arlene and Nelson lived with her mother on Main Street in the house she had grown up in. Their children are Laura (born in 1946), Dean (1949) and Bruce (1953). She was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church; her first offering was made the day of her birth. She was active in local organizations including the Gann Museum, which she helped to form. She also served on the City Council, in the Junior Fortnightly Club and many other local organizations. She was instrumental in the creation of the historical mural in downtown Benton. She and Nelson were avid Benton Panther, Henderson Reddie, and Arkansas Razorback fans.
Arlene loved to travel and was always ready to go anywhere at any time. She was also a family genealogist, in the age before Internet research was possible. She preserved her father’s pottery-making legacy by giving presentations on his famed Niloak pottery to audiences across the state. In 2004, she became a founding docent of the Clinton Library in Little Rock, as the oldest to serve in that position.
Besides her children, she is survived by four grandchildren, Randy Russell, Matthew Russell, Simone Rainey, and Lucas Rainey; and her children’s spouses, Phil Russell, Leslie Satin, and Michael Hogue; great-grandchildren, Cody, Tyler, Brady, Delaney, and Reis Russell, as well as two great-great-grandchildren, Laramie and Bennett Russell.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the Gann Museum.
Memorial services will be held at 7:00 PM Tuesday at the First Presbyterian Church, 501 N. East St. in Benton.
Online guest book at www.ashbyfuneralhome.com