Arlene W. Hartwick

SPRINGFIELD — Arlene W. Hartwick age 103, of Springfield, MN died on May 19, 2018, at St. John Lutheran Home in Springfield, MN.

Visitation will be on Thursday, May 24, 2018, from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at St. John Lutheran Home in Springfield, MN..

Service will be held at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at St. John Lutheran Home on Thursday at 10:00 am.

The clergy will be Chaplain Noel Wetter. Interment will be at the Springfield City Cemetery.

Arrangements are with the Sturm Funeral Home in Springfield, MN. On line condolences may be left for the family at

Arlene, daughter of Michael and Rose (Becker) Wagner, was born on May 6th, 1915, in Stately Township and grew up on the family farm in Sanborn. She went to country school (sometimes by horse and sleigh), and then Sanborn Public School through the eighth grade. After graduating from Springfield High School in 1932, she attended the University of Minnesota, attaining an Associate of Arts degree in 1935. She married Lowell Hartwick in 1936, and they had three daughters, Judy, Sharon and Pam.

In the early 1940s, she started working at the Springfield library, as a volunteer and part-time librarian, and retired more than 50 years later as the library director at the age of 81. She often said of her time as the librarian: “I had the best job in the world.”

The highlight of her career was the gift of more than a million dollars that was bequeathed to the Springfield Public Library from the Charles and Ethel Altermatt estate in 1989. In part, her friendship with the Altermatt family resulted in the generous gift and a new library building that has benefitted the entire community.

Arlene enjoyed playing bridge and cards of all kinds, fishing, golfing and painting. She was a member of the Springfield Historical Society and past president of the American Legion Auxiliary.

She attributed her longevity to many things, including living in a small town, enjoying family and friends-and making new friends, eating well, playing bridge (until her 100th year), reading lots of books, and never retiring from staying involved in life.

Arlene was witness to many important events during her lifetime, from accompanying her mother to vote in the 1920 presidential election, after women gained the right to vote, to the travails of the depression and World War II, and her husband returning safely from serving in Okinawa, to embracing the modern age and even learning to use a computer.

She was a charter member at Riverview Homestead Cooperative and lived there independently for 20 years before coming to St. John’s in 2016.

Her husband, Lowell, and daughter, Pam, and brothers, Greg, Gilbert and Archibald Wagner, preceded Arlene in death. She is survived by her daughters, Judy (and the late Larry) Essen of New Ulm, Sharon (Tony) Antonios of Kent, Connecticut, two grandchildren, Jayne (Chris) Jensen of New Ulm, and Jon (Stacey) Essen of Minneapolis, five great-grandchildren, Catherine and Peter Jensen, and Emily, Sam and Erik Essen, along with many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

Memorials can be given to the donors’ choice.