On May 2, 1926, the Arthur family of Chanute, Kansas, was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. She was named Lena Jane Arthur after her mother’s sister, Helena. Hers was a big family. She had a sister named Violet, however, she passed away when Lena was only five. Her other siblings consisted of eight boys. The Arthur’s owned a dairy; it kept the boys and her dad very busy
Lena helped her mom cook, can everything that they grew in their garden, clean the house, do huge amounts of laundry, and any other chores that needed to be attended to for their growing family.
As a girl, Lena and her mom would enter canned foods, baked goods, and sewing projects into local fairs. They always took home lots of blue ribbons.
After high school, she became a teacher at the elementary level in Kansas. A year later, Lena moved to San Diego with her brother, Gene. It was wartime, so she became “Lena-the Riveter” at the defense plant. Lena also went to and graduated from cosmetology school.
During this time, Lena was writing and receiving letters from a young Marine named Marvin Wiles. They would see each other when he came home on leave. When Lena was 19 years old, Marvin came home with a proposal and a ring. On December 31, 1945, they were married. Lena packed her bags and become a military wife.
Over the next 75 years, Lena and Marvin were blessed with three children. They had one boy and two girls. The family moved four times. Marvin was deployed for 12 months, twice. When he was home, Marvin left the family once a month for week-long maneuvers. Lena managed the house, kids, and any crisis that arose on her own. During these chaotic times, Lena also managed to complete a Licensed Vocational Nursing program, pass her board exams, and help supplement the family’s income.
After 25 years of military service, Lena and Marvin retired to Madera, CA., bought five acres, and built a house. The couple did a lot of arts and crafts. They would often go to local craft shows and sell their wares. Marvin and Lena were very involved in the dancing community. They taught line dancing and were active members of the senior centers in the valley.
Lena is survived by her daughters, Gloria Diann and Judy Doreen, her granddaughters, Charlotte Adele, Lena Suzanne, and Elizabeth Clare, her great-grandchildren, Jack Damian and Savanna Elyce, along with many other relatives and friends.
Lena joins her husband, Marvin, her son, Marvin David, and grandson, Adam David in the peace of heaven.
Throughout her life, Lena was a picture of love, caring, tenacity, and determination. She was fiercely protective of her family. She never ever gave up on any of them. Lena was a true example of what unconditional love means.
Lena’s service will be held on July 17, 2021, at the Arbor Vitae Cemetary in Madera, California. The graveside service will take place at 10:00 AM. A reception will follow at Ranchos Christian Mission Church at 12:30 PM.
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