Kuhler Funeral Home

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Arlene Decker

Arlene Decker obituary photoArlene Decker, age 74, of Frankfort, died Tuesday, August 21, 2007, at her home.  Her funeral service was at 10:00 AM Friday, August 24th at the Bethesda Church in Huron with the Rev. Gordon Wiebe officiating.  Burial was in the Ebenezer Church Cemetery at Doland. 

Arlene Ann Walter was born to Paul and Margaret (Wurz) Walter on July 31, 1933 at Bridgewater, South Dakota. When Arlene was seven years old, her mother died. Her Aunt Anna came to stay with Arlene and her two sisters, Glenda and Lois. Arlene's dad took care of her all the time and she became a "daddy's girl." She went out in the field a lot to help her father. Arlene and her two sisters experienced much love from the many aunts who would help them out by staying with them and   caring for them. Arlene attended grade school near Bridgewater and moved to Spink County (Doland) when she was thirteen years old. There she stayed with Aunt Emma Hofer and attended Doland High School.

Arlene had a love for music and truly loved to sit down and play the piano. She started playing the piano for the church congregation when she was in the third grade. She continued to accompany for many and enjoyed playing classical music pieces which she loved to share with others. She gave piano lessons to her grandchildren and other students in the community. It was difficult for her to walk past a piano without playing it. Music was a wonderful way for her to worship and praise the Lord.

Arlene graduated from Doland High School in 1951. She married Wesley Decker on July 31, 1952, her birthday. A month after they were married, Wes headed to  Virginia to serve in the Army. Arlene joined Wesley in September 1952, living in Virginia with Wes until he received orders to transfer to Korea in January 1953. Arlene began teaching at the Blue Bell country school the year after she graduated high school. Her college education occurred mostly by attending summer school classes. She completed her Education degree in 1970 at Huron College. Arlene taught school for 37 years, many years as a first grade teacher in Doland. She retired from Doland, but her love for teaching children brought her back and she taught at Glendale Colony for many years before she retired the second time in 1998.

Wesley and Arlene have three children, Steve (Beth) Decker of Frankfort, Darcie Decker of Rapid City and Scott Decker of Huron. She has two sisters, Lois (Lyle) Mudge of Rapid City and Glenda (Ken) Huse of Pierre. The grandchildren have been very special to Arlene. She said "I want to thank my children and grandchildren for all the good times we've had together." She loved her grandchildren, Mandi, Jesse, Donnie, Abbey, Joshua and Jacob. Arlene had a special relationship with her daughter-in-law, Beth.

The ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) didn't bitter Arlene. She gave up playing the piano outside the home, but in the home she was creative and played with her right hand as her left hand became paralyzed. She recorded the right hand music and then played along the bass clef music using her right hand, which is typically played with one's left hand. She continued to give piano lessons to her grandchildren and enjoyed every minute of it. She wore the largest smile on her face when she was able to see her grandchildren play the piano, their musical instruments or sing.

One of Arlene's other joys was cooking for her family and inviting guests in to share over food. ALS finally took that cooking gift away but in turn she was graced by many meals and visits by relatives, neighbors, church friends and families through the  sharing of their food and time with her. Wes often said he could tell when Arlene had company or phone calls during the day for the way it picked up her spirit and  encouraged her heart.

Arlene was preceded in death by her  parents, Paul G. Walter and Margaret (Wurz) Walter; her step-mother, Rebecca (Hofer) Walter; her mother and father-in-law, Sam and Emma (Kleinsasser) Decker; her brother-in-law, Carl Minder; and her nephew, Ken Mudge.