‘Smarts, energy, sincerity’: Remembering Arlene Wade, 1943-2013

Arlene Wade, instrumental in the creation of the Log House Museum and Duwamish Longhouse, has died at age 69. Here’s the remembrance we’ve received to share with you:

Arlene Hinderlie Wade (1943-2013) passed away on March 25 after a 13-year battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Arlene grew up in Port Orchard. She was the 1963 Seafair Queen during the ‘Century 21’ Seattle World’s Fair.

As President of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society in the 1990s, Arlene led the campaign to create the Log House Museum. She insisted on telling the story of the American settlers alongside that the Duwamish people, whose cause she championed for two decades. She shaped “The Spirit Returns” exhibit at the new Log House in 2000, which was the first time the story of the Duwamish and the American settlers was told side by side under one roof.

Paul Dorpat decribed her in his Seattle Then and Now column:

“Arlene’s smarts, energy, and sincerity were dominating and the cabin is now quite a nifty museum for West Seattle history – thanks in great measure to the 1963 Seafair Queen.”

Arlene and her husband George worked with the tribe to secure the land where the Duwamish Longhouse now stands.

Arlene co-founded the Seattle Chamber Music Festival with Toby Saks in 1982 and served on the board of the Cornish College of the Arts. Arlene frequently accompanied her son, Brady, on the violin.

She was also a mental health counselor with a MSW from the UW and three years of advanced training at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute.

A celebration of life is being planned.

7 Replies to "'Smarts, energy, sincerity': Remembering Arlene Wade, 1943-2013"

  • PDH April 8, 2013 (10:15 pm)

    Sounds like an amazing woman. Love her work with historical WS! I love history and our stories; sound like she did so. Would have loved talking with her! Sorry for loss to her family and our community.

  • Lezlie April 9, 2013 (10:35 am)

    I met Arlene when she and George lived above Alki. She loved the history of her community and the spectacular Alki beach. The renovation of the Alki promenade was also a project she became involved in. Her energy and enthusiasm will resonate for for a long time.

  • C. Diama Rose April 10, 2013 (8:15 am)

    Arlene will be deeply missed by the Explorer West Middle School community. As a founding parent she was an integral part of our success. Arlene was extremely generous with her volunteer time, expertise, and support. Much love to her husband George, one of our founding Board Chairs, and her son Brady.

  • Brady Wade April 11, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments about Mom. The West Seattle community was “home” to our whole family, and love to see the appreciation for her hard work to make it a better place. In addition, the creation of this post meant so much to both me and my Dad – it helps honor such an amazing woman.

  • Dustin Keeth April 12, 2013 (12:11 am)

    What a fabulous lady and a wonderful family. So sorry for your loss!

  • Darlene McGlocklin April 12, 2013 (11:15 pm)

    It’s no surprise that Arlene touched the lives of so many. She always expressed her interest and concern, even at the end when she worried about leaving George and Brady behind. She wanted to be there to look after them. Always a kind word, as she was forever thinking about the happiness and welfare of others. I will deeply miss her forever smile.

  • Sharon Grabner April 13, 2013 (4:59 pm)

    I knew Arlene when we were undergraduates together, where Arlene helped facilitate my transition to a more liberal stance toward life,and then we both went through the UW MSW program, later keeping in touch via Christmas cards as miles separated us until we reconnected upon my return to the Seattle area. My children never met Arlene. But a few years ago my older daughter was teaching physical anthropology, her designated area of interest, at Edmonds Community College, when the faculty were required to participate in some field experiences related to social and environmental injustice. As part of that, they spent a day in the South Park neighborhood and at the Duwamish Longhouse. My daughter came home and announced a switch in her academic and professional focus and is now pursuing a passion in areas related to social/health/environmental justice issues. I consider that Arlene had a personal,lasting major impact on two generations of my family. She lived well and set a high bar. Yes, quite an amazing woman.

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