TRAVERSE CITY — Arlene R. Lautner, 89, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at Munson Hospice House, surrounded by her family. Arlene was born on Oct. 31, 1923, to the late Edward and Bertha (Lautner) Rokos.
Arlene lived a happy, modest childhood on the family farm with her parents, second mother, Aunt Mea, and sisters, as well as her cousin, Everett Hunsberger. She had many adventures with her best friend, Jean (Lautner) Bensley at her side.
She contracted tuberculosis and was treated in Gaylord Sanitarium from age 16 to 19. While there she wrote to the neighborhood boys serving in World War II, including the boy next door, Jerome. Her great determination and strong will led her to leave against doctor’s orders to convalesce at home. Miraculously her health returned, enabling her to pursue her dream of returning to and graduating from Traverse City Central High School.
She married Jerome Lautner in 1947; he was her best friend, faithful husband and the love of her life for the next 54 years. Jerome built their home on land Arlene had loved since childhood located on West Bay Shore Drive, where they raised their two daughters. Arlene was very involved in volunteering her time and talents at Norris School acting as room mother, 4-H leader, PTA member and Girl Scout leader.
She was well regarded for her vast knowledge of local history and family genealogy, contributing to local history books.
Due to her desire to preserve the land and its natural surroundings, she ran and was elected Elmwood Township Clerk from 1970 to 1988. She was instrumental in establishing zoning and creating a fund to build the current township office building which was paid for in full, incurring no debt for the township.
She was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, working on the funeral luncheon committee, as sacristy worker and the women’s church guild. Arlene was also involved with the Michigan State University Extension Club and the D.A.V. Auxiliary.