Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Arlene E. (Bogle) Blair


Arlene Edith (Bogle) Blair was born during a blizzard on March 14, 1923, in a farmhouse on the land her father had homesteaded in western Nebraska near Bushnell. She was two months premature and was expected to perish as had three of her mother's previous babies. But survive she did and last month celebrated her 94th birthday surrounded by her family.

Life was tough on the farm with work filling the day from dawn to dusk. After dark, it was time to study and practice the piano which she had started playing at 5 years old. And study she did with writing being her favorite subject. Although offered a full scholarship to the University of Nebraska, she decided to attend business school in Denver. After graduating in 1944, she went to work at the Sioux Ordinance Depot in Sidney, Nebraska where the government stored much of the munitions used in the war.

It was there she met her future husband William (Bill) Blair. She and Bill dated a few times and one day Bill called her and asked her to open the Montgomery Wards catalog to a specific page and said he wanted to buy her a present. Of course, that page was the one with wedding rings and thus began their new life together.

In January 1946 their first child, William Lyle Blair, was born in Sidney. The war was over and the young family, along with Bill's mother Mary, moved to Kearney, a bustling town in the center of the state. In 1948, their second son, Robert Lynn Blair, was born.

Arlene lived in Kearney for the next 13 years and worked at the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) office for 10 of those years while raising her two boys. Each winter, Bill and Arlene would travel to some warm location – Florida, Mexico, or Arizona. It was on one of these trips that they decided they liked the warm winters of the South and while vacationing in Phoenix in 1959, bought a house and moved the family.

Arlene went to work for the City of Phoenix and began her climb up the management ranks. Along the way, she was elected president of the Phoenix Employees Federal Credit Union and was also elected president of COPMEA, the city employees' association, where she pioneered many of the benefits that today's city employees enjoy. In 1970, she was named the Arizona Business Woman of the Year and she retired from the city in 1984. After retiring, she and Bill moved to Boise, Idaho.

Bill and Arlene enjoyed retirement and took many trips, visiting faraway locations including Europe and Africa. Unfortunately, Bill's health deteriorated and after Bill passed away in 1992, Arlene moved back to Phoenix and bought her home on Maryland Ave. where she lived for the next 25 years.

Her twin loves of playing the piano and writing always stayed with her. Her home had both a grand piano and a professional organ and she enjoyed playing both. She also started writing seriously and her first book, "Hats Can Kill" was published in 2005 and is available today on Amazon. Other books followed and are also available on Amazon. Arlene was especially proud of being published and wrote many other stories that she never bothered to publish. But to the end, she was discussing ideas for her next book.

Arlene passed away on April 9, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband Bill and her granddaughter Christy. She is survived by her two sons - William and Robert (Cheryl), six grandsons – Brooke (Heidi), Robert, Brandon, Matthew, Brennen, and Brent, one granddaughter – Casey, and four great grandchildren – Bryce, Kate, Elizabeth, and Pippa.

Services will be held at the A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuary at 710 W. Bethany Home Road in Phoenix on Friday April 21st at 10:30 AM. Visitation will be held at the same location on Friday April 21st at 10:00 AM.


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