Vivian Arlene Vargus, 95, of Muscatine, passed July 10, 2021, at Bickford Cottage. Visitation will be Wednesday, July 14, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Snyder and Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Muscatine. Services will follow at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery. Sympathy notes may be left for the family at www.sandhfuneralservice.com.
Vivian Arlene Stockman was born near Swedesburg, Iowa at her grandparent’s farm on Thanksgiving Day November 25, 1925. She was the fourth child of William Isaac and Vera Elfie (Martin) Stockman.
She began using her middle name when she started school and continued using Arlene for the rest of her life. She attended schools in Brighton and Washington, Iowa and was a 1943 graduate of Washington High School.
She married Joe Brady Vargus in Memphis, Missouri on November 22, 1942. While Joe was training recruits stateside and serving overseas in Belgium and Germany, Arlene did her part for the war effort producing arms at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Burlington, Iowa.
After the war, Arlene and Joe settled in Muscatine and bought their first house on Grand Avenue. As the family grew, they purchased a home in 1951 on 804 West Eighth Street occupying the home until 2018. Besides raising their own three children, they periodically provided a home for some of Arlene’s younger brothers and sisters.
Arlene was a inveterate photographer. She began with a Brownie Box camera as a young girl and began photographing family gatherings and the milestones of life. Arlene left a lifetime of photos all identified with events, places, participants and dates.
In 1967 Arlene began employment as a laboratory technician at Grain Processing. She retired in 1986 after 21 years.
Arlene filled her retirement years with many hobbies—crocheting, quilting, embroidery, and visiting museums and antique shops. She had booths at some craft malls in Muscatine and Moline and participated in Doll Shows. Arlene enjoyed attending all the various activities in which her grandchildren and great grandchildren participated.
Family was very important to Arlene. She developed a passion for genealogy after her retirement. She sought out family records in courthouses and photographically documented small and abandoned cemeteries where ancestors had been buried. Prior to the internet and digital images, Arlene spent hours at libraries searching microfilms for census records and newspapers for mention of family. She maintained family connections through annual family reunions and collected memories and photographs of previous generations. She made friends with distant connections and helped locate Iowa resources for them. In 1993 Arlene wrote and printed “The Family Tree of Simon P.B. Martin” including the descendants of Simon and Adeline Mathews Martin. Arlene has left her family a treasure trove of family history and stories.
Since 2018, Arlene has resided at Bickford of Muscatine, making many new friends and enjoying the activities and special events. She embroidered tea towels and made embroidered pillowcases for her great granddaughters. She spent hours doing jigsaw puzzles, playing Scrabble and taking on family and friends at her favorite games Bingo, Uno and Kings Cross.
Arlene is survived by her children, Larry and Helen Vargus, Texas; Robert and Judith Vargus and Linda and Rick Cary, all of Muscatine. She is survived by grandchildren and great grandchildren Melissa and Shon Foster, Matthew, Zachary, Samantha, & Alexander of Oklahoma; Greg and Amy Vargus, Gabrielle, Brady, and William of Oklahoma; William and Samantha Vargus, Lucy of Muscatine; Valerie and Paul Stagg, Vada, Jameson, and William of Wilton; Brenda & Garet Egel, Ethan, Keaton, and Ava of Lynn Center; Christine Cary and Darin Lemley of Milan; Nicholas and Danielle Cary, Monroe, Emmett, and Elaine of Wapello. She is survived by three sisters, Lorena Runyan, Roberta Little, and Sandra De Shong.
Arlene was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Joe; daughter, Diana Vargus; two grandchildren, Kerry Fullerton and Michael Vargus; and siblings William, Kenneth, and Jerold Stockman, Ruth Fuller, Esther Vargus, Juanita Fox, and Donna Knifong.
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