PLEASE NOTE: We will continue to require of visitors the recommended social distancing of 6 feet. We will maintain a reasonable amount of visitors at any given time. At the request of the Blair family, MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ALL VISITORS AT FLINCH & BRUNS FUNERAL HOME AND OUR LADY OF LOURDES R.C.CHURCH. Please be mindful that visitors are to be respectful to those who may be waiting by keeping your stay brief.
July 25, 1944 – September 16, 2021
Arlene grew up in Brooklyn with her mom Sophie, her brother Stan, and her dad Stanley. Her father passed away when she was in middle school, so she grew up fast, helping her mom raise their family. That sense of responsibility and care for others only grew and strengthened over the years. She was quick with a kind word and always one of the first to reach out to help family, friends, and neighbors in need. Arlene was friendly and chatty with everyone, much to the embarrassment of her daughters growing up, as she befriended cashiers, other shoppers, and strangers on the street.
Arlene was class mother (as it was called in the non-enlightened 70s) for her daughters Maureen, Patricia, and Jennifer every year of school. She went on class trips, made cookies for bake sales, volunteered on the PTA – anything that needed doing, she did it. She threw joyous birthday parties over the years, including pool parties with make your own sundaes, homemade pizza parties, ice skating parties, and movie parties, where she once traumatized a group of 11 year olds by taking them to see the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (again, the 70s).
The original Body Snatchers film was one of her favorites, having been introduced to Arlene by her Uncle Henry. She devoured all kinds of scary, creepy movies, and all three of her daughters have inherited this love. Arlene was a particular fan of Agatha Christie novels and film adaptations, and a lover of all things mysterious from PBS Mystery to Murder She Wrote. A favorite in recent years was the Murdoch Mysteries series, and she spent many an afternoon watching these episodes with her dear friend Pat.
Arlene lived for Christmas and delighted in decorating her house from top to bottom. Her pride and joy was her Dickens Christmas village display, which grew alarmingly with each passing year. Another Christmas tradition she loved was the Blair family Christmas party, hosted on a rotating basis by Arlene and her husband Vin and his siblings, Joe and Dot, Pat and Ed, and Alice and Bill. There was always a wrapping paper fight, a ton of food (including her delicious baked ziti), and the annual group photo by Uncle Ed.
A devoted daughter, Arlene brought her mom Sophie to live with her when the family moved from Brooklyn to Long Island. She treasured her Polish heritage, honoring it primarily with food. She loved a good babka and often trekked to the Polish butcher for some kielbasa and pierogi to fry up at home. A loving sister, she spent many Easter, Christmas, and birthday celebrations with her dear brother Stan, her sister-in-law Jane, Grandma Graziano, her nephew Matt, and in recent years, his growing family. It was Stan’s wedding to Jane that introduced Arlene and Vin to Plymouth, and by extension, Cape Cod. This became the family vacation spot for decades, extending from trips with their young daughters, to just the couple, to visits from their grandsons Will and John when they entered the scene. Arlene adored the Cape and had many favorite haunts that she and Vin would visit on their annual pilgrimage. They spent countless happy hours sitting in the warm sands of West Dennis beach, watching as the waves rolled in and the sun set.
Over the years, Arlene loved and cared for a succession of treasured dogs, Scrappy, Brownie, Charlie, Brandy, and “granddogs” Sophie and Mazie. When her grandsons were born, Arlene would take the Long Island Railroad to Brooklyn every Thursday, her day off from work, to spend time with them. She strolled them around the neighborhood, taking them to playgrounds, bringing them to see Mr. Met at the Brooklyn Public Library, rushing Will down to Barnes and Noble when she heard Santa was there, and riding the B67 bus with John to his art class, always stopping at Mazzola’s for cookies on the way home. Those memories of roaming around with her boys in Brooklyn, the home of her youth, were some of her fondest. She loved to regale them with the tales of their youthful exploits together. Arlene doted on those boys. She wanted to know all about first days of school, summer camp, chess tournaments, friends, and everything else they did. She would tell anyone who would listen about Will’s SAT score. Those boys were her pride and joy.
Arlene was a loving wife to Vin for over 50 years. They raised three daughters, welcomed Greg into their family with open arms, and delighted in their grandsons. They celebrated their golden anniversary in 2017, with an intimate family party that brought all their siblings together. They were a devoted couple from their early days in an apartment on Ovington Avenue through their many years in their house in Valley Stream, where Arlene passed peacefully last week. Arlene grieved Vin’s passing with a heavy heart, and we take comfort now in knowing that they are together again.
Arlene’s life was so enriched by the dogs she adopted; she would be deeply appreciative for any contributions you would like to make in her memory, to help more animals find loving homes:
North Shore Animal League
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Arlene M. Blair, please visit our floral store.
North Shore Animal League America