EYOTA – A Celebration of Life Service for Arleen Whitcomb, 86 will be on Saturday,
March 18th, at Faith United Methodist Church in Eyota; the Rev. Mark Woodward will
officiate. Visitation with the family will be from 9:30 a.m. – 10:29 a.m. in the church
sanctuary. An Eastern Star Service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed immediately by the
Celebration of Life Service. A private burial at Oak Grove Cemetery
will be at a later date.
Mrs. Whitcomb, a life-long Eyota resident, died Friday (March 10, 2017 at her home,
surrounded by many of her family.) Arleen JoAnne Ernst was born June 25, 1930 in
Olmsted County, Eyota, MN, to Christine and Lloyd Ernst. She graduated from Eyota High
School in 1948. Arleen had the lead in the Eyota High School Musical, “An Old Kentucky
Garden.” She also held roles in many of her 4-H Club One-Act Plays. After graduation,
Arleen worked on the Orthopedic Floor at Mayo Clinic as a desk attendant until she
married the love of her life, her best friend, Walter P. Whitcomb, on July 8, 1950. After
that date, she was busy on the farm feeding calves, managing the books, and doing
everything else that was needed. She also held a part time job helping her brother, Dr.
Robert Ernst, as his medical book keeper.
During the early years of her marriage, Arleen was active in the Methodist Church of
Eyota as a choir member, a Sunday School Teacher, as well as serving on various
committees. She was also an active member in the Royal Robins Group, and a member
of the local Eastern Star Chapter. Arleen spent much of her spare time working on jig saw
and crossword puzzles, was an avid MN Twins, Vikings, Lynx, and Gophers fan. She had
mastered many of the computer games found on POGO.com, as well as many card
games, Boggle, and Scrabble. Arleen has made over 700 Angel Food Cakes for family
member birthdays and anniversary celebrations. These special days would not be the
same without her cakes, her chocolate chip cookies, and her homemade bread. Arleen
was the happiest when she was surrounded by her family and friends as she listened to
the events of the day, the accomplishments on the farm or in the workplace, and looked
forward to all of the upcoming events.
Arleen is survived by son Larry (Cindy Burgdorf) of Eyota: their oldest son Kyle
(Paula Gilson) of Oshkosh, WI - and their children Tessa, Lucy, and Grace; their
youngest son Scott (Betsy Strachota) of Grafton, WI - and their children Carter and
Eleanor. Son Rev. Randy (Michelle Gentile) of Troy, MI and their children Joshua and
Miranda. Daughter Nancy (Deborah Vosler) of Eyota, MN. Son Jason (Julie Batzel) of
Dover, MN and their daughter Aubrey. Other survivors include: her siblings Darrell Ernst
of Voorhees, NJ; Marilyn Kiefer of Juneau, AK; and Burton Ernst of Deer Park, WA; her
sister-in-law Midge Ernst of Eyota; her brother-in-law James (Linda Copeman) Whitcomb,
of Eyota; and special family friends including Paul (Lucy Loftus) Veermersch of
Rochester, MN, as well as a plethora of cousins, nieces and nephews.
Arleen was preceded in death by her parents Lloyd and Christine Wangsness-Ernst;
husband Walter Parker Whitcomb (May 20, 2008); brothers and sisters-in-law Raymond
(Dora Hair) Ernst, Dr. Leonard (Eleanor Madsen) Ernst, Dr. Robert Ernst, and Layton
Ernst; sisters and brothers-in-law Florence Lee (Ernest), Delores Grieff (John), Annie
Ernst, and Nona Ernst; and granddaughter Mariah. Walter’s siblings and their spouses
Francis (Madeline) Whitcomb, and Margaret (Wayne Grannemann).
Friends may join Mrs. Whitcomb’s family for lunch and stories, in the church
fellowship hall following the service.
At Arleen’s request her body has been donated to the Mayo Clinic Anatomy
Department Bequest Program for research and study by medical students.
Memorials are preferred to Faith United Methodist Church of Eyota, Dover-Eyota
High School Dollars for Scholars Walter P. and Arleen J. Whitcomb Scholarship, and
Schad and Zabel Funeral Home of Eyota is handling arrangements.