Arleen Frances (Ambrosini) Smith was born August 22, 1927 to Audrey and Walter Ambrosini and she passed peacefully into the loving arms of Jesus on July 29, 2020 at age 92. She died at her home where she lived since 1953.
Arleen was born at her grandparents’ farmhouse on Ambrosini Lane near Ferndale and grew up on her parents’ sheep ranch in the Bear River area. She attended the Assumption School through 8th grade, and then Ferndale High School where she graduated in 1944. She then attended Armstrong Business College in Berkeley, where she learned how to use a stenographic machine, as well as shorthand and typing. Upon graduation, she worked at various Bank of America branches in Humboldt, and later she was a legal secretary. She had started dating Ron Smith in high school, but they waited until he returned from the war and had a college degree before they married on August 19, 1951. A year and a half later, Susan was born and few years later, Paul was born. Arleen was an amazing mother and was very involved in the children’s activities. When they were young, she was a leader of Sue’s Brownie and Girl Scouts Troops, and a Den mother for Paul’s Cub Scouts. She said one of the most difficult tasks as a mother was teaching both Sue and Paul to drive. They spent a lot of time practicing at the Fairgrounds. She said the biggest challenge was when she let them drive to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge!
When Ron and his business partner started the Smith and Scalvini television repair store in Ferndale in 1962, Arleen became the bookkeeper and often worked at the store, which continued until Ron’s retirement in 1988. Arleen had many friends and enjoyed spending time with them. She was a member of Ferndale Native Daughters of the Golden West for over 50 years. She enjoyed the membership and held most of the offices including President.
The family had a summer cabin in the Mattole Valley where they spent many weekends, often entertaining friends. Arleen was always community-minded. She was a charter member of the Ferndale Museum and was awarded a life membership for her exceptional service. Arleen and Ron helped local families by administering the Ferndale Community Chest from 1964 until 2005.
Arleen was an ardent gardener and was known for her spectacular flower garden, roses and orchids. She loved the Lord and was a long-time member of the Ferndale Congregational Church, which later became the Ferndale Community Church, and she treasured her many friends at that church.
Arleen was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, Ron, who died in November 2017. Also by her sister, Joyce Paddock and her parents, Audrey and Walter Ambrosini. She is survived by her two children – Susan Murray of Cincinnati Ohio, and Paul Smith and wife, Cindy, of Houston Texas, plus her three grandchildren – Benjamin Smith, Alexandra Smith and Jimmy Murray. She is also survived by her brother, Joseph Ambrosini, her niece Marcia Edwards, and other nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their deep gratitude to the compassionate staff at Hospice of Humboldt, especially Christie and Edgar, who helped the family care for Ron and Arleen in their last days. Because of Covid-19, there are no immediate plans for a memorial service for Arleen. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to either Hospice of Humboldt, the Ferndale Museum or the Ferndale Community Church.
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