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Arlene B. Gebhardt, 78, died Sunday, March 3, 2002, at the home of her daughter and family in Odessa, Texas.

She was a former resident of Russell.  Arlene worked in the Welfare Department in Russell from 1953 - 1956 and then served as the Kiowa County Welfare Director for many years in Greensburg. She then went on to work for the state of Kansas and the state of Texas. She was truly devoted to the mission of providing safe havens for abused and neglected children.

Arlene was born April 5, 1923, in Russell, to Jacob and Natalia Dietz Bender. Their ancestors were immigrants from the Volga region in Russia, having come to Kansas in the late 1870's. Arlene was the eldest of six daughters born to her parents.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Wilma Lindahl and Dorothy Walker; and two half brothers Lawrence and William Ringler.

Arlene graduated from Russell High School and the University of Kansas Schools of Business and Law. She was admitted to the Kansas Bar Association in 1950.

She was a veteran of World War II and served from 1943 to 1946 as a Navy Wave at stations in Texas, Georgia, New York and California. She had been listed in "Who's Who of American Women."

Arlene was married to Adolph Christian Gebhardt, who was originally from Luray. He preceded her in death in 1972. Adolph had been engaged in farming in Russell County, plus he worked for years as an oil and gas gauger for the State Corporation Commission.

Both Adolph and Arlene were active in community affairs and quite interested in politics. Born to that marriage were two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

Arlene was a devoted mother and grandmother. Arlene's survivors include: daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Caroline, Barrett, and Stuart Huffman, Odessa, Texas; daughter Catherine and her four children, Megal, Jacob, Amanda, and Monica, Montgomery, Texas, three sisters, Viola Maxwell, Chesapeake, Virginia; Lou Heim, Denison, Texas; and Donna Hays, Salina.

Arlene donated her body to medical science at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. At her request, no funeral was held. A monument in her memory will be placed at the Barrett Cemetery in Marshall County, Kansas.

Transcribed and Contributed by Glenda Brack

Last Updated:  Saturday, April 20, 2002 17:19:30

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