Arlene C. Valdez

Arlene C. Valdez

Arlene Valdez

On March 17, 2016, Arlene C. Valdez, née Kelly, passed away peacefully with her daughters at her side, at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, WA.

Arlene was born in June 28, 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri to Claude and Sylvia Kelly. She was one of five children. Her father, who traveled often and worked many jobs, moved his family almost every summer, moving from Missouri, to Oklahoma, New Mexico, and several other locations as Arlene grew up. Eventually they landed in Washington State, where Arlene made a home in Yakima. In her early twenties, she had her first marriage and gave birth to two girls who were the light of her life.

Arlene worked as a certified nursing assistant, among many other trades, while raising her children. At times Arlene even worked three jobs to support her beloved children; she believed in working hard and was admired by her peers for her dedication and passion. When Arlene wasn’t working, she volunteered at her children’s schools and was active in the PTA and in her children’s classes, and was respected for her involvement in her children’s education.

In her spare time, Arlene enjoyed thrift shopping and a good movie. She loved the water, and was a good swimmer. Arlene was also a painter, creating beautiful pieces for her loved ones. She even painted a collection of pop-art ceramic houses and buildings, arranging charming little towns on her book shelves. Arlene could also draw—a talent she passed on to her daughters—and was often seen doodling while on the phone.

In addition to the fine arts, Arlene was often known to collect poems and proverbs, which she would share at family gatherings. She’d also write songs and sing them to her granddaughter as she grew up. Arlene’s voice was warm, sincere, and always rang out with a smile.

An enormous joy in her life was her only granddaughter, who lovingly referred to Arlene as ‘Grandma Darlin’, after a folk song Arlene sang to her growing up. Arlene and her granddaughter had a unique bond that most grandparents don’t get to share with their grandchildren. To her granddaughter, Arlene was a hero and role model of wisdom, strength, and unyielding love.

She is survived by her husband, Mario Valdez; children, Christina and Suzanne Buckman; granddaughter Nadine Philp, as well as her remaining sisters: Marlene Alires and Charlene De Jesus.

Arlene was a wonderful mother, grandmother, wife and sister who will be deeply missed. Her smile and laughter will live on in her children, and her strength remembered. Her fiery spirit will continue to embrace her family through the years, and they will honor her life by giving others the boundless compassion and kindness that she embodied for them.

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