Arlene Christensen Murdoch was the mother, wife, sister, aunt, nurturer, dance partner, and skillful beheader of venomous snakes that everyone wishes they had for themselves. Her love unconditional, her optimism infectious, Arlene was a 3,000-watt electric blanket of human warmth.
She made everyone around her feel comfortable, cared for, special, and always had a place at the family table for neighbors, friends, friends of friends, her childrens’ friends, foreign exchange students, coworkers, postal delivery people, and employees.
She was born in Great Falls, Montana, on October 13th, 1947. The oldest of five children to Lloyd Christensen and Bernice Fluegel, Arlene, spent her formative years at the family dairy ranch in Sun River valley. It was here, surrounded by siblings and cousins, that she pondered for the briefest of milliseconds, a career as a bread maker.
Arlene met her eventual soulmate of 47 years, Steven Murdoch while working at Hoglund’s Western Wear in Great Falls, Montana. She reportedly sold him some Tony Lama boots and Wrangler Jeans, and eventually gave him her heart. It was love at first sight — no doubt helped along by Steven’s striking new outfit — and they were married on March 13th, 1968.
Family came shortly thereafter. Their first son, Wallace, was born in Great Falls; Adam joined four years later when the family was living in Oroville, Washington.
For the next 30 years, Arlene continued watching over her family as she hand-stitched countless quilts for friends and relatives, dabbled in watercolor and oil painting, and launched her home business making baskets. When not busy crafting, she could be found on the square-dance floor with Steve; in Arlene-stitched matching outfits, of course.
Arlene loved learning. So, while juggling a full-time job and raising a family, she somehow found the time to put herself through college, remotely, and earn a degree in Respiratory Therapy. Over the course of her 30-year career at the Deaconess Hospital, Arlene made many friends and touched the lives of countless patients.
In 2005, Arlene and Steve relocated to Tangent, Oregon. This was to be their forever home in the beautiful Willamette valley, chosen for the moderate weather and striking resemblance to the Sun River valley they both loved in their youth.
Following Steve’s passing in 2016, Arlene moved to the Towne Center retirement community in Happy Valley, Oregon, before spending her last months on hospice in the home of Adam and son-law, Chris. Arlene passed away on October 7th, 2020, due to complications related to COPD and congestive heart failure.
Arlene is survived by her two sons, Wallace, of Santa Monica, California, and Adam and son-in-law, Chris Bateman of Portland, Oregon. She is also survived by her sisters, Loydene Stillman from Bluffdale, Utah, Marlys Wood of Southport, Florida, Ione of Land O Lakes, Florida; and brother, Gary Christensen of Ogden, Utah.
An online memorial will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2020. All are welcome. Visit arlenelovesyou.com for more information.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family hopes you’ll donate to a few of Arlene’s favorite causes in her memory. Please donate to Montana Project Hope or your local Habitat for Humanity (see below).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Arlene Christensen Murdoch, please visit our floral store.
Montana Hope Project
P.O. Box 5927, Helena MT 59604
Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East
1478 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland OR 97211