Shirley Claire (Thoms) Arndt

Shirley Claire (Thoms) Arndt

April 20, 1927 – Aug. 9, 2021

Shirley Claire (Thoms) Arndt was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Carl and Vivian Thoms on April 20, 1927. Shirley met the love of her life, Kenneth Arndt, and they were married on Nov. 8, 1947. They lived in Milwaukee where their first three children were born (Suzanne, Quinten, and Randol). Shirley supported Kenneth’s dream of moving to Alaska, and with her adventurous spirit, the two embarked on their multi-week journey. Kenneth drove the flatbed Ford and Shirley drove the Willy’s Jeep Wagon. Shirley held down the fort of cooking and washing clothes in the streams. In Homer, they bought three acres across from the Washboard and started one of their many businesses.

In 1959, Shirley and Kenneth became one of the founding families of Glacierview (Grace) Baptist Church. Shirley served as church treasurer for many years, and the two continued to be faithful members until they went home to be with the Lord. They welcomed their daughter, Kristal, in 1960. Shirley was the cornerstone behind their businesses serving a variety of roles including secretary and accountant. She volunteered as treasurer for many local organizations and worked as a server at Sterling Cafe and Duncan House. Shirley was an avid bowler, and her love for bowling took her throughout Alaska – her name was on the leaderboard until the bowling alley closed.

In 2011, Shirley and Kenneth’s life changed when he suffered a significant stroke. The support and care Shirley provided was testament to her love for him no matter the circumstances they faced together. After Kenneth’s death in August 2019, Shirley moved to Missouri with her daughter, Kristal, and lived there her last two years.

She is survived by her brother Terry Thoms; four children, Susie Hokkanen, Quinten Arndt, Randy Arndt of Homer, and Kristal McAtee of Missouri; 16 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Arndt, of 72 years; her parents, Carl and Vivian Thoms; sister-in-law Elaine Thoms; niece Tammy Thoms; grandson-in-law Jason; and great-granddaughter Ember.

Shirley Arndt’s Celebration of Life will be held on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. at Glacierview Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to The Cute Syndrome Foundation and the Denver Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.