Cover photo for Arlene Rose Werksman's Obituary
Arlene Rose Werksman Profile Photo
1937 Arlene 2022

Arlene Rose Werksman

August 14, 1937 — October 6, 2022

Davenport Barrington

The world is filled with a little less joy, a little less love and a little less beauty. Our Mom, Arlene Rose (Hebert) Werksman, was reunited with her husband "Cotton" in heaven on October 6, 2022.

Those who knew our mom loved her. You couldn’t know her and not love her. Many of us can say that people love us, but only a very select few can say that we were loved by everyone. Mom was one of those few people. A truly wonderful woman and even better mother, she was born on August 14th, 1937, in a little town called Middleboro Massachusetts which is just a rock-skip away from Cape Cod where she loved to spend time.

Arlene was the 12th of 13 children and also had a “half-brother” who is the sole remaining living sibling. Mom was the only one in her entire family that graduated from high school. She was raised in a house with very little money but an over-abundance of love! She ate bread every night for dinner for years on end because money was tight, but that never dampened her spirit or her love of people or the world as a whole. She grew up a Catholic and was a true believer until the end.

She met our father - the love of her life - when she was just 18 years old. Dad and his friend “Bump” (his name was Gordon Bumpus and was affectionately called Bump) were recently home from The Korean War and stationed at Ft. Devon in Massachusetts and decided to go “cruising chicks” in Bumps 1951 Mercury convertible. They headed towards the cape and that’s where Mom and her sister Barbara were walking to the beach along the side of the road. Dad and Bump of course had to see what the pretty girls were up to, pulled over and struck up a conversation with the young ladies. Dad first said hello to Mom’s sister Barbara and when he turned to say hi to Mom, they both say their eyes met and within minutes they “knew” they were supposed to be together……and they were happily married until 65 years later they were finally separated when Dad passed in September of 2021.

She gave birth to 3 pretty decent kids along the way (LOL). Her legacy includes her children's spouses, their children and great grandchildren. While Dad was the “dominant” personality in their relationship, Mom had a way of reaching people on a different level. To know her was to love her. She was a genuine good soul on every single level. People gravitated to her because it was just “natural” to do so. She was born to be a Mom for sure, but also a “mom” to everyone who needed one. We can’t tell you how many people she touched along the way. She was always…. ALWAYS... concerned about everyone else but herself and always of service to others including strangers. Mom was the type of person whose hair could be on fire, and she’d say to you….is the fire too hot for you? totally Mom!!!! Always concerned about others, truly a selfless human.

Mom worked a few odd jobs here and there over the years, but both her and Dad agreed early on that her most important job was being “Mom” and that was a role she was a natural at. She was lighthearted, had a good sense of humor and took a joke as well as the best of them. In truth, we believe she liked being the butt of some jokes because she could see her family smile and laugh and that was all that mattered to her. She loved us children no matter what trouble we caused her….and believe me we caused her heartache plenty of times…. wouldn't it be nice to take those things back, but we can’t. Through it all mom was the original “safe-space”, and we always knew that no matter what.

Mom was an integral part of Dads side business “Frame Service” and also to his love of cars as well as the development of the N.S.R.A. (National Street Rods Association) I can still remember mom running of copies of the very first NSRA newsletters on a mimeograph machine in the basement. Without her, Dad wouldn't have had the support he needed in the NSRA’s early years and thus…. without her there would be no NSRA right now.

Later in life at the age of 70 she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. She fought bravely against it for 5 years. She lost her hair, she had lymphedema in her arm, she suffered through chemo and radiation and the “5-year pill” as she called it that made her legs constantly hurt. But she was victorious!!! We were all so happy, then the cancer came back in her eye when she turned 80. Obviously, the news was devastating to us all, but the situation was even more complicated this time as Mom had decided no chemo this time and on top of that dad’s dementia had gotten much worse and the family “unit” was very stressed. Fortunately, she was able to treat her eye with cyber-knife radiation and amazingly beat cancer's butt again!!!!

Then over the next few years Dad's dementia continued to worsen along with him having a stroke, a bleeding ulcer, a mild heart attack and a fall resulting in a broken hip and replacement surgery all within a short time. In March 2021 she was again diagnosed with cancer - this time stage 4 stomach cancer - and to make things worse she also had esophageal achalasia making things 10 times harder. Mom made the decision to not fight/treat the cancer this time and just accept that God was getting ready for her. It would be no surprise, knowing Mom, that part of her decision to not treat the cancer this last time was at least partially based on her not wanting to take family time and energy away from Dad at his most vulnerable time and not wanting him to see her suffering again through more treatment (totally a mom thing to do).

Mom had been given a 6-month life expectancy at her diagnosis this time and when Dad passed in September of 2021, she had already passed that up by 2 months. Mom was obviously very sad that her husband was no longer with us all but that - in a beautiful way - was a huge gift from God to have things happen the way they did. Dad wouldn’t have lived more than a few weeks if Mom had passed before him. He would have literally died of a broken heart. But Mom on the other hand…. while sad about his passing……was also happy that we all got to spend some time with her as Mom/Arlene and not solely Dad's wife. We got to see a bright and beautiful side of her that came through with zest and laughter. We packed the house with people, laughter and love, and she loved every minute of that. Being the 12th of 13 children it felt “natural” to be stuffed in and crammed together. So, we all loved on her as much as we could. Up until a few months ago, she was actually mostly independent. She was on a feeding machine at night, but she’d still go shopping with Ellen when she felt up for it and loved her independence.

Sadly, the last few months of her life were a challenge for her as well as the family. The loss of her independence was hard for her, mostly because she never liked to “be a burden” to us children. She wasn’t a burden in our eyes, but you all know how Moms are. She ended up living almost 19 months after the original diagnosis of 6 months. Mom was such a strong woman!

If there has EVER been a person who is going to see the face of God, it’s Mom. We’ve obviously known for a while that the end was near, and we all said our goodbyes and told her it was “ok” to go. But her body just wasn’t ready to go, even after 11 days off her feeding machine, she was still awake and talking with us, but you could see the “change” in her 2 days before she passed. Matthew (her youngest) was fortunate enough to be there the last night with her, sitting and watching and waiting. Hearing her breathing change, he sat next to her on the bed and held her hand and stroked her leg, telling her how lucky we were to have her as a mom and that she’ll be with Dad soon and that she was safe and loved. Her breathing slowed; Matt continued reassuring her that God was just going to love the heck out of her real soon.

Mom, we love you - it was a great run!!!! We are all much better people than we could have ever been without you in our lives. It has been an honor to be your children...

God has a plan,
That we must believe.
It’s said he’ll send an angel,
When it’s our time to leave.
Dad came for Mom today,
And said it was time to go.
Mom looked at him and smiled,
And whispered, "I know".
As Mom rose to heaven,
She could see herself asleep.
She felt her family all around,
And she could see us all weep.
She gently touched each shoulder,
With Dad close to her side.
And as she went towards the light,
She had her man as her faithful guide.
Dad held her hand,
As he led the way,
To a place where they can be
Together and healthy, every day.
Our thanks to you both,
For so many years of love.
You are now one from two again
With the Lord in heaven above.
Fear not Mom and Dad,
You guys had a great run.
We will see you again for sure,
Your loving daughter and sons.

Celebration of Life: October 29
616 South Street Barrington IL
No formal service a simple gathering to share love and stories!

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Arlene Rose Werksman, please visit our flower store.


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