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Arlene Anna Jacobsen

Arlene Anna Jacobsen died Sunday, January 17, 2021 in Waukee, IA. She loved life and her family tremendously. Her amazing character is deeply imprinted on her survivors. Her constant sacrifice and generosity allowed others to thrive.


Born in Irwin, IA in 1929 to parents Edward and Anna Petersen, Arlene learned from her mother while growing up on the farm with three sisters doing chores inside and out that hard work was valued highly. She ran a tight ship in her own home where work before play was always her motto. She owned the Dairy Sweet Drive-In in Harlan, IA during the 70’s along with her husband, Robert, and served as the restaurant’s primary manager, while also being the primary caregiver to her four children. It was quite a feat as the days were long, intense and very busy.


Cooking and baking were a passion of Arlene’s (or maybe a respite!), especially making cookies, cinnamon rolls, and pies. Baking was a way for her to demonstrate her love to everyone around her. Even with her busy schedule, family dinners were very important as well as a big Sunday meal; and of course, everything was made from scratch. Homemade desserts were commonplace. She was known to make 10+ different kinds of cookies at Christmas time and make three different kinds of cinnamon rolls, making sure to have all the different combinations to fulfill each kids' and grandkids' favorite.


Arlene was a “gamer” as she loved to play games. When she did finally sit down, you would find her playing bridge, pitch, sequence, hearts, hi ho cheerio...any game really. The other big joy of her life was watching her children and grandchildren participate in sports, drama and music. She relived games frequently, often retelling stories that made her whole body smile.


Arlene is survived by her four children, Roger (Janet) of West Des Moines, IA; Rob (Jill) of Forsyth, IL; Annette Krause (Rick) of Clive, IA; and Andy (Janet) of Cedar Rapids, IA; her three sisters; 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.


The family would like to express our deep appreciation to the staff at Legacy Pointe in Waukee. Arlene lived at Legacy nine years and mentioned frequently how much she enjoyed her time there. We thank you for treating our loved one like your loved one.


Family service and inurnment are planned at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. Memorials can be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association and local food banks.




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