Arlene Carlett Van Bruggen died at home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on February 5, 2014. She was born on May 27, 1930 in her grandparent's farm house just outside of Youngsville, Pennsylvania; she was the youngest of five children born to William and Edith Mae Young Carlett.
Arlene went to school in Youngsville and graduated from Youngsville Public High School in 1948; she later attended Clarion University. Arlene worked for the New Process Company, now Blair. While living in Washington, D.C. she was employed by the United States Air Force, where she had a top security clearance.
She returned to Warren, Pennsylvania and was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Forest and Waters where she was closely involved in developing Chapman Dam State Park and also worded with the fire wardens. On July 5, 1962 she married Jay Van Bruggen, a professor at Clarion State College, now Clarion University of Pennsylvania. While living in Clarion she was active in the faculty wives club, sometimes serving as President. She was also an amateur painter and active in the bicounty Artists Association and regularly aided in the art show during the Clarion Autumn Leaf Festival. She was also a charter member of the Clarion chapter of the League of Women voters and was additionally active in the Clarion TOPS (Take off Pounds Sensibly) club. She was an excellent cook, and gracious hostess. When her children were in school, she became a licensed Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania and was active in the local real estate organization. When her husband retired at the end of 1991, they went to China where he taught English to Chinese Students in a number of different Universities.
She also taught some classes, but after a small stroke she left the classroom and only taught students in the home as they came to her. She helped many of the students to better understand American customs and introduced them to western cooking and eating styles. They lived for two years in Kaifeng, close to the Yellow River, where Jay taught at Henan University. At the end of the second year, they returned to the United States by continuing to go west and spent some time in Belgium, the Netherlands, and England before returning home. Later they lived in Wuhan, on the banks of the Yangtze, where Jay taught Graduate Students at the South Central University of Economics and Finance, supported by the Finance Ministry of the Peoples Republic of China. Later they returned for two semesters at Peking University, the top University in China, where Jay again taught doctoral students. Their Chinese travels ended in 2002.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband, Donald Clymer, and her siblings, Henry (Charlotte), Eleanor (Harry) O'Donnell, Janice (Cash) Burke, Allen (Violet) Carlett and one nephew. She is survived by her husband, Jay, and two children, Sara Van Bruggen Murray (Arik) and Jonathan (Ricki) Van Bruggen, and six nieces and nephews and their spouses; two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 11:00 on Monday, Feb. 10, at Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI. The family will greet friends and relatives at the Zaagman Memorial Chapel, 2800 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday, Feb. 9 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. Memorial contributions in Arlene's memory may be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, Ste. 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Arrangements by Zaagman Memorial Chapel