Cleone Arness Lewis passed peacefully in her sleep at Falmouth by the Sea with loving family members by her side on January 27, 2018. She was born June 19th, 1923 in Oak Park, Minnesota to Anna Syverson and Carl Arness.
Cleone grew up in a Norwegian family of wheat farmers from Oslo, Minnesota and East Grand Forks, North Dakota, on either side of the Red River.
As a child, she walked 3 miles to and from a 1-room school house. She loved spending time on her Aunt Clara and Uncle Hubert's farm, eating raw carrots and dirt from the vegetable garden and watching Uncle Hubert milk the cows at 5 AM. She first learned how to drive on a tractor when she was 14 years old. She treasured those days with the warmth and laughter of extended family, including her uncles who bounced her on their knees. Family was important to Cleone. She grew up Lutheran and knew her true father was God, "who art in heaven". It is to him who she returns.
Cleone was attending college at the University of Minnesota, studying to be a Nutritionist, when she moved to Washington D.C. to become one of J. Edgar Hoover's secretaries during World War II. She loved to talk about her days working for the FBI. During this time she met her husband, Tom Lewis, a Marine officer. They married in July 1944 and had two children, Sandra and Susan.
She gave birth to 1st daughter, Sandra, while Tom was stationed in Hawaii. She wrote to President Truman to say that men serving their country ought to be able to have their family by their side. President Truman responded to her personally by letter and arranged for travel for her, with newborn Sandra, to be reunited with her husband in Hawaii for the remainder of the War. She waited 3 weeks in San Francisco due to weather conditions for a US cargo plane to carry them to Hawaii to be with Tom. She was proud of this accomplishment and kept the letter from President Truman to this day.
After the war she lived in Denver, CO, West Medford, MA, and Miami Shores, FL before settling in Westwood, MA. She enjoyed being a homemaker and raising her two daughters. Her hobbies included gardening (great asparagus patch) and growing beautiful flowers. She had a green thumb. She played golf with her husband, entering tournaments together. She was competitive. In later years she encouraged Susan in her golfing and would often tell her to "go get 'em"!
Upon separating/divorcing Tom, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona for a year to heal and lived with her mother and sister, Betty Lou with her son Paul. During this time she shared a special bond with her nephew Paul (Dietzel). She drove across country, returning to Westwood, MA at the year's end, with Susan and her beloved brother, Laddie. It was a memorable drive home!
Years later, she met Henry Larbour, who was a wonderful companion for 20 years. She enjoyed times with her 3 grandchildren, Heather, Robin and Hilary. She was happy to see them whenever she could; they lived West of the Rockies and she was a New Englander.
Cleone is predeceased by 4 siblings on her mother's side, Laddie (Martin), Bud, Mary Ann, and Betty Lou, her former husband Tom, and partner Hank.
She is survived by two daughters, Sandra Carris w/husband Glenn, of Aspen, CO, and Susan Lewis of Falmouth, ME, and three grandchildren, Heather Vicenzi and partner Charlie, of Aspen, CO., Robin Mitchell and Hilary Mitchell, both of Brooklyn, NY. She is also survived by siblings on her father's side including sister, Lee Corns, of Littleton, CO. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.
We wish to thank Falmouth by the Sea for their kindness and supportive care of Cleone during her three years and special thanks to the Compassus hospice care team for providing loving support/care at the end of her life. Peace be to her memory.
Services will be held at Christchurch, 1900 Congress St., Saturday, February 24th, 2018, at 1:30 p.m., followed by light refreshments.