Oct. 23, 1917 ~ April 30, 2015
Faithful, generous, caring and determined, Arlena lived to serve God and others. A dearly loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and teacher of thousands, Arlena will be missed by her children, John (Sipkje), James (Florence), Paul (Judith), Samuel (Renee), Peter (Cheryl), Mary Bonner and Elizabeth Diercks (Mike); 25 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.
She was born in Mishawaka, Indiana, to James Preston and Hannah Belle Cross on Oct. 23, 1917, and died in Troup on April 30, 2015, at the age of 97. After graduating from Northern Illinois Teacher's College and then Wheaton College, she married Francis Mahaffy in 1944. Leaving on VE Day, they traveled in convoy across the Atlantic to Africa, where they served the people of Eritrea for more than two decades as missionaries. A lifelong learner, Arlena was a teacher and mentor for 77 years in formal and informal settings in Illinois, Eritrea and Texas, and was still regularly tutoring students and sharing her knowledge of the importance of motor skills until shortly before her death.
She was predeceased by her husband, and by brothers, Dallas and Floyd Cross.
Visiting with family will be on Friday, May 8, 2015, from 6 to 8 p.m., and a celebration of her life in Christ will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 2 p.m., both at Tyler Presbyterian Church, 4554 Farm-to-Market Road 2813, Flint, 75762. Services are under direction of Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville.
Interment will be 1 p.m. Friday, May 15, 2015, in Mount Emblem Cemetery, Elmhurst, Illinois, under direction of Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the foreign missions ministry of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, c/o Tyler Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 131573, Tyler, 75713; or the "Arlena Mahaffy Scholarship Fund" of Good Shepherd Reformed Episcopal School, Tyler, 2525 Old Jacksonville Highway, Tyler, 75701.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on May 7, 2015.