116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Arlene Adeline (Barta) Thompson
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Arlene Adeline (Barta) Thompson passed away peacefully on May 1, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Memorial services will be held Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John XXIII Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Interment to follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Fairfax, Iowa.
Arlene was born on Aug. 20, 1937, to Omer and Bertha (Brecht) Barta. She grew up on the farm in Fairfax, enduring pulled ponytails and skinned knees under the watchful eyes of four brothers. Eventually, a young, well-dressed and ambitious Max Clifford Thompson charmed his way into her heart and they married on June 9, 1958, in St. Patrick’s Church, Fairfax, Iowa.
Arlene attained the Degree of Associate in Arts graduating cum laude from Mount Mercy College in 1957. She graduated cum laude from Coe College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and received a Master of Arts in Education degree from the University of Iowa in 1966. Guided by a shared belief in the importance of family, Arlene and Max remained in Cedar Rapids to work in the College Community and Cedar Rapids Community School Districts. An Orton-Gillingham adherent, Arlene taught thousands of children how to read. She continued to teach until her retirement.
Music was a big part of Arlene’s life. She played the organ for the men’s choir for All Saints Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for nearly two decades. Later, Arlene shared her singing talents with a community choral group, Cedar Mountain Singers, in Hot Springs Village, Ark. While living at Brookdale Skyline, an independent and assisted living community in Colorado Springs, over the past seven years, the residents often enjoyed Arlene’s singing and piano talents in the many plays, recitals and dramas she participated in and often led.
Arlene enjoyed the family’s summer cottage in Prairie du Chien, Wis. She was an ambitious fisherman and an even better cook. She was known to wake up early to make a full country breakfast for her son, Kenton, and any number of his friends before they headed out for a sunrise fishing trip. And this is after staying up late to clean the fish caught the day before.
Following retirement, Arlene moved with Max to Hot Springs Village, Ark., where they developed a brisk residential real estate business, volunteered for Teen Challenge and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and actively participated in their churches. They enjoyed golfing and playing cards with Arlene’s brother, Ron, and sister-in-law, Darlene, who also moved to the Village.
After Max’s passing, Arlene relocated to Colorado Springs, Colo., and enjoyed life with her daughter, Gwen, and family. Arlene attended most of the sporting events in which her grandsons participated and became an ardent Broncos and Rockies fan. Gwen and Arlene were fortunate to spend the majority of their days together and Arlene participated in many of the family activities. Arlene particularly enjoyed hiking and travel. Since October of 2021, Arlene was able to spend precious time with her one and only great-grandchild, Jackson Drew Stimple Jr.
Arlene will be remembered for her penchant for gardening and for her apple and rhubarb pies, her biscuits and gravy, singing, organ and piano playing, an unwavering, lifelong faith and commitment to the Catholic Church, and selfless help offered to others. Arlene was the matriarch of the Barta-Brecht family, keeping records of births and deaths and sharing regular family updates with everyone.
The family is extremely appreciative of the tender, loving care that Gwen faithfully provided throughout Arlene’s time in Colorado Springs. Over the last year especially, Gwen epitomized grace, patience and humor in ensuring tending to Arlene.
Arlene was preceded in death by her parents, Omer and Bertha Barta; her husband of 53 years, Max; and her brother, Melvin (Mike) Joseph Barta. She is survived by her twin brother, the Rev. Ardel Barta of Dubuque, Iowa; brothers, Msgr. James Barta of Dubuque, Iowa, and Ron (Darlene) Barta of Hot Springs Village, Ark.; sister-in-law, Patty Edmondson (with special friend, Gordon) of Ankeny, Iowa; her children, Gwen (Doug) Stimple of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kenton (Shannon) Thompson of Fairfax, Iowa; grandchildren, Sam Stimple of Somerville, Mass., Jack (Mariel) Stimple of Colorado Springs, Colo., Seamus, Tadhg and Flannery Thompson of Fairfax, Iowa; great-grandson, Jackson Drew Stimple Jr. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and one large, close-knit Barta-Brecht clan.