Pedersen Ryberg On Line Obituaries
Faithful, generous, caring, and determined, Arlena lived to serve God and others. A dearly loved Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and teacher of thousands, Arlena will be missed by her children, John (Sipkje), James (Florence), Paul (Judith), Samuel (Renee), Peter (Cheryl), Mary Bonner, and Elizabeth Diercks (Mike), 25 grandchildren, and 23 great grandchildren.
She was born in Mishawaka, Indiana to James Preston and Hannah Belle Cross on October 23, 1917, and died in Troup, Texas on April 30, 2015 at age 97. After graduating from Northern Illinois Teacher’s College and then Wheaton College, she married Francis Mahaffy in 1944. Leaving on VE Day, they travelled in convoy across the Atlantic to Africa, where they served the people of Eritrea for more than two decades as missionaries. A life-long learner, Arlena was a teacher and mentor for 77 years in formal and informal settings in Illinois, Eritrea, and Texas, and was still regularly tutoring students and sharing her knowledge of the importance of motor skills until shortly before her death. She was pre-deceased by her husband, and by brothers Dallas and Floyd Cross.
Visitation with family will be on Friday evening, May 8 from 6 to 8 pm, and a celebration of her life in Christ will be held on Saturday, May 9 at 2 pm, both at Tyler Presbyterian Church (4554 FM 2813, Flint, TX 75762).
Interment with a graveside service will occur at 1 pm on Friday, May 15 at Mt. Emblem Cemetery, Elmhurst, Illinois under the direction of Pedersen Ryberg Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the foreign missions ministry of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, c/o Tyler Presbyterian Church (P.O. Box 13573, Tyler, TX 75713) or to the "Arlena Mahaffy Scholarship Fund" of Good Shepherd Reformed Episcopal School, Tyler, TX, (2525 Old Jacksonville Rd. Tyler, TX 75701).