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‘She made a difference’: Family and community mourn loss of Arlene Bosek

Arlene Bosek prepares food for the Brandon-Evansville baseball team after a Chargers’ win against Ashby two years ago. Bosek made a habit preparing meals for the kids. (Echo Press file photo)1 / 4
Arlene Bosek, who was killed in a crash on Saturday, Aug. 5, received the Douglas County Outstanding Senior Citizen Award in 2014. (File photo) 2 / 4
Arlene Bosek, a well-known community member, died in a crash on County Road 82 near Brandon. (Al Edenloff | Echo Press) 3 / 4
The vehicle ended up on its side after rolling over on County Road 82 east of Brandon. Brandon firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. (Al Edenloff | Echo Press) 4 / 4

When Kathleen Rittenour drove by a lemonade stand in her mother’s Alexandria neighborhood the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 7, she pulled over and bought some lemonade – but not because she was thirsty.

Instead, she did so in memory of her mother, Arlene Bosek, who was killed in a one-vehicle rollover on Saturday, Aug. 5.

“That’s something that mom would do, she would stop,” Rittenour said. “That’s what mom did. She taught me that. Even if we’re not thirsty or anything, we stop and buy some lemonade for the neighbor kids.”

Bosek did much more for the Alexandria community. In fact, there is little in Douglas County that Bosek was not involved in during her 79 years of life.

She was employed at the Douglas County Hospital and clinic for more than 50 years. She organized Senior Fishing Day each year. She received the Douglas County Outstanding Senior Citizen Award in 2014 and the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award in 2009.

Rittenour says that her mother led by example when it came to teaching her four sons and two daughters to give back to their communities.

“She transferred it (being involved in the community) to us, and we hope our children and grandchildren pick that up, too,” Rittenour said. “That’s the way our mom taught, is by doing and showing. That’s how we were raised. That was the norm, to help others.”

Rittenour says the outpouring of support from community members has been overwhelming and that she and her family appreciate the kind words.

“It’s overwhelming, all the stories,” she said. “That’s one thing I really want from others, is stories. And I know that’s what mom wants, too, is the storytelling … She made a difference in this community and in the world. I know personally that she did but it’s so wonderful to know that others believe that, too.”

Though Bosek was a cherished member of the community, Rittenour stresses that nothing was more important to her than being a good mom.

“She’s gotten awards from the community in the past but the greatest award she was ever given was motherhood,” Rittenour said. “And I was given the greatest award by having her as a mom.”

In addition to family members, community members are also mourning the loss of Bosek. Many have left messages for Bosek’s family on Anderson Funeral Home’s website, where her obituary is published.

“Arlene's dedication to her work, family, friends and our community were unparalleled,” wrote Stacey Lhotka, a former co-worker of Bosek’s. “I can't think of anyone I know who had touched more people's lives than Arlene. There was always a smile.”

Many expressed that Alexandria simply would not be the same without Bosek’s presence.

“Arlene was a fixture in Alexandria,” wrote Kathryn Aga Lee. “She gave so freely of her time and energy.”

Bosek was also involved in Viking Sportsmen, senior companionship programs, the Relay for Life, VFW, the Lions Club, the Eagles, First Lutheran Church, 4-H, Boy and Girl Scouts, and many other organizations.

When receiving the Sertoma award in 2009, Bosek said she volunteers because it is rewarding for her.

"You don't do it for any glory," she said, "you do it to make people happy."

The crash

Bosek was killed when her vehicle rolled on County Road 82 east of Brandon at 7:18 p.m. Saturday. She was alone in the vehicle and no other cars were involved.

Bosek was pronounced dead at the scene, and her body was transported to the Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey County for an autopsy.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Brandon Fire Department and North Memorial ambulance.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11 at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. with a time of sharing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10 at the Anderson Funeral Home and for one hour prior to the Aug. 11 service.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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