Arlene Alexandra Gage, age 97, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at Brewster Village where she received loving care for the past 7 years. She died of pneumonia.
Arlene was born to Robert M. and Mary C. (Fox) Murphy on July 8, 1922 at her parents’ home in Oneida, just north of Freedom. She and all four of her brothers were born on the family farm. She strongly identified with being a “farm girl,” milking cows and living a rewarding but sometimes challenging life. She proudly told her kids of the milk strikes during the depression when she was 11 years old and “sneaking” milk with her brothers to the nuns so they wouldn’t have to go without milk. In the 1930s her family left the farm and one-room school house and moved to Appleton. Her Irish-Murphy nickname “Spud” followed her while she attended Appleton High School. After graduating, she attended Lawrence College for a year.
Arlene married Lawrence R. Gage on December 27th, 1941. The two had met when the Murphy’s bought a cottage near the Gage’s family cottage. She was 13 and Larry was 17, but as Arlene was always quick to add, “He had to wait until I was 16 to ask me on a date!” Larry fell in love with the young country farm girl and they enjoyed 64 years of an incredibly happy married life together. They both loved being on, in, or near the water, and the love of water was something they passed onto all of their children. Sailing, swimming, canoeing – if it involved the water, the family members were enthusiasts. She faithfully supported all of her children in their love of water and also learning and education.
Arlene was a strong and loving woman loved by the many lives she touched. She had a great memory and excelled in Sheepshead, Canasta, Bridge and Scrabble. She never lost her farm-girl identity, love of gardening, flowers and cooking. She was an adventuresome cook, which her family loved.
Besides a love of learning, though, Arlene and Larry quietly modeled many lessons and values to their children, chief among them were treating all people with compassion and respect, especially those less fortunate, including all minorities. She never thought of herself as better than anyone. Raised among the American Indians of Oneida County, Arlene developed a life-long desire to share what she could with them. Arlene spent many years helping people needing support by volunteering at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. She and Larry were part of the Legacy Circle to keep St. Joes Parish alive and well.
Arlene is survived by her six children and their spouses: Jacquelin Gage Rubio (Hector Rubio) of Querétaro, Mexico; Larry Gage (Joanne Christianson Gage), of Ephraim, WI; Robert Gage of Seattle, WA; David Gage (Donna Gage) of Arlington, VA; Kathryn Gage Franco (Carlos Franco), of Port Townsend, WA; and Thomas Gage (Laura Slania Gage), of Land O’ Lakes, WI; and nine grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by one sister-in-law, Lois Murphy, of Appleton.
The funeral liturgy for Arlene will be held at 10:30 on Monday, February 3, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 410 W. Lawrence Street in Appleton with Fr. Jim Leary, OFM Cap. officiating. Family and friends are invited to gather at the Brettschneider Trettin-Nickel Funeral Chapel, 606 N. Oneida Street in Appleton on Sunday afternoon after 2:00pm. Visitation will conclude with remembrances between 4:00 and 5:00. There will be a viewing Monday morning at St. Joseph’s from 9:30 – 10:30am immediately before the funeral mass.
In lieu of flowers, people may send a contribution to The Lawrence and Arlene Gage Scholarship Fund which is part of the ACES Xavier Foundation (for information, see www.acesxavier.k12.wi.us)
The family would like to deeply thank and acknowledge the amazing, loving care that Arlene received during the last seven years of her life while residing at Brewster Village in Appleton.
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