Arlene (Wallace) BjorkmanAugust 31, 1944 ~ July 7, 2017 (age 72)
Whether you called her Arlene, Boots, Sis, or Mom, Arlene Bjorkman knew what it meant to love and be loved. Even after an illness takes over and you think you don't have control, she defied the odds, lived past the predictions, kept fighting, and took control -- of this obituary, how she would meet her maker, and the celebration of life to follow.
Arlene (Wallace) Bjorkman passed away on July 7, 2017 after a courageous, five-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 72. Arlene was the third of five children, born on August 31, 1944 in Salem, OH, to Paul and Winifred (Bohner) Wallace. A 1962 graduate of West Branch High School, Arlene met her husband Ernie, when she was 14 years old over the summer of 1958 at Woodland Lake in Homeworth, OH. They would be high school sweethearts before marrying in 1964. As an active volunteer, she was quick to help for any school event when her children were young, and she partnered with her husband to lead the Little Warriors program and was the cheerleading advisor for many years. Arlene spent 22 years in the healthcare field before retiring in 2006, first working for Mount Union sports physician Dr. Daniel Kibler, and then Medical Financial Consultants (MFC) in medical billing. She was always quick to help elderly patients understand their medical bills and navigate the confusing world of medicare and health insurance. But her true loves were her family, Sami, her loyal dog of 14 years, her flower gardens, and a glass of wine --preferably a nice rosé. Her beloved Sami was more than likely waiting at the gates of heaven for a tummy rub from her.
She is preceded in death by her parents, brother Roger Wallace, and her second set of parents, in-laws Clyde and Edna Bjorkman. Arlene touched many people in her life with her warm smile, caring hug, and empathetic ear. Always optimistic, she was fiercely loyal and liberal as the day is long. She was a tolerant, open-minded person who truly believed that love heals all wounds. She persisted. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Ernie Bjorkman, her son Christopher S. Bjorkman, Lt Col USAF, Retired (Margo Lt Col USAF Reserves) of Columbus, OH, and daughter, Dr. Julie Bjorkman (Rajesh David) of Chicago, IL, and five grandchildren who were everything to her: Emily, Joe, Ella, and Rachel Bjorkman, and Mia David. Brother Larry (Lorie) Wallace of Salem, sisters, Linda Ramsey of Wadsworth, Jackie (Bill) Moretz of Youngstown, and sister-in-law Dee Dee Wallace of Salem. In addition, she has a number of nieces, nephews and cousins across generations who are among the best family one could ask for, especially in times of need.
Special thanks to all the family and friends who helped in her remaining days, and the wonderfully caring healthcare professionals and volunteers at Alliance Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice who were always responsive to her needs.
Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life event for Arlene on Friday, July 21, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at The Timberlanes Grand Ballroom, 544 East Pershing Street, Salem, OH 44460. Prayers and a special memorial service will begin at 4:30pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary, an animal shelter in Salem, OH, or the American Cancer Society. Friends may send condolences and sign the guest register online at www.grfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are by Gednetz-Ruzek-Brown Funeral Home, Sebring, OH (330) 938-2526.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary
1859 Co. Hwy. 410, Salem OH 44460