OBITUARY: Arlene Lawrenz

Arlene Lawrenz, age 86, died Aug. 21 following a long illness.

She was born in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin on Oct. 25, 1931 to Ervin (Dick) and Mildred Wills. Her childhood nickname was “Pooney,” though neither she nor anybody else could remember how that came to be. She graduated from Gibraltar High School and put her motto in her yearbook as “worry and I have never met,” which her children reminded her of many times in later years.

She worked as a hairdresser after trade school. She married Mel Lawrenz, Jr. in 1954 with whom she had two children, Mel, and Lynne. She was widowed in her mid-twenties when her husband died suddenly from pneumonia. From then on she devoted herself to raising her two kids with absolute devotion. Arlene worked long hours in Wills’ General Store and housekeeping cottages in Ellison Bay. She moved her small family to Green Bay where Mel and Lynne grew up through high school while she worked as an assistant nursery school teacher.

Those who knew her would say she was about the kindest and most gracious woman you could meet. So sweet, so good. A woman with deep faith. She was a sunbeam.

She is survived by her daughter Lynne (Don) Grasse and son, Mel (Ingrid) Lawrenz; by one sister, Renee Wesa, of Green Bay; and by four grandsons, Dane, Bret, Cole, and Christopher. She was preceded in death by her parents, by her beloved brother Gene Wills who teased her relentlessly when they were kids and loved her deeply as only a big brother can as adults, and by her precious granddaughter, Eva.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay at 11am (10 am visitation) with a fellowship luncheon to follow.

Memorials to support Christian literature for needy people may be contributed online at or by check made out to: “Elmbrook Church – Lawrenz Memorial.”

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