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Arlene Sobotka

Roberta Arlene Sobotka was born to Donald and Esther Johnston Butt on February 8, 1936 northeast of Diagonal on her grandparent's farm. She grew up in rural Diagonal and graduated from Diagonal High School in 1954. With her friend, Reba Rychnovsky, Arlene headed for the big city of Des Moines and worked for Meredith Corporation. When high school sweetheart, Carol ‘Oss' Sobotka, returned from the service, they were joined in marriage on February 11, 1956. They made their home in Des Moines for the next four years where Randy and Gary were born. In 1960, Oss and Arlene returned to the farm; Pam and Shelly soon arrived with Doug bringing up the rear. In 2001, Oz and Arlene moved to the south edge of Diagonal and Arlene set about making it look its best. She loved her flowers and spent many an hour on the mower.

Arlene always made family a priority and her home was the gathering spot. With 13 grandchildren she could be seen with her color-coded calendar traveling from one activity to the next. She was so proud of all, but never failed to offer her advice.

Arlene loved to cook. She was fondly known by her family as the owner and sole employee of ‘Big Mama's' catering. If you needed cookies or other goodies, her freezer was the place to go, and invaders would find everything neatly labeled with cooking instructions, too. Homemade ice cream sandwiches were one of the most popular but the rule was only one per visit. Grandkids were known to drive out of the drive way, make a quick turn-around, and return for a second one! Paybacks were often given in the form of food as the Sur-Gro crew will attest.

Volunteering and giving back were priorities in her life. She was always looking and working to improve our community. Arlene was an active member of the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Diagonal and served the Lord faithfully as a board member during the unification of our churches, Bible School, Harvest Sale, suppers, and more. She also worked diligently to help establish the Diagonal Printing Museum, complete the diorama of Knowlton, give school tours, write grants, and ‘sit' with the building on weekends. Arlene had fond memories of helping organize Diagonal's Centennial, but she really showed her persistence when she worked to successfully move the bridge to Fogle Lake.

Arlene was a leader of the Jolly Jinglers 4-H Club, member of the Ringgold County Extension Council, and was inducted to the State 4-H Hall of Fame in 2004. She also worked hard to expand the open class division at the Ringgold County Fair and was named "Iowan of the Day" in 2001 by the Iowa State Fair.

Arlene was preceded in death by her husband Carol, her parents, and in-laws.

She is survived by her children, Randall (Jan) Des Moines, Gary (Darla) Mount Ayr, Pamela (Robert) Grace, Shelly (Alan) Bentley, and Doug (Darla) Sobotka all of Diagonal; thirteen grandchildren, Jeremy (Allison) and Steven Grace (Lasea), Christopher Sobotka (Megan) and Megan Sobotka VanZandt (Derrick), Rachel Sobotka Inloes (Michael), Cody (Stephanie), Matthew (Caitlin), and Alex Sobotka, Andrea Bentley Pauli (Jason), Bradley (Taylor) and Michael (Jessi) Bentley, Katie and Erin Sobotka; and 21 (with more on the way) great-grandchildren.

Memorials are to the Diagonal Printing Museum & United Church of Diagonal


Services: 10:00 a.m. Wed, January 2, 2019 at United Church of Diagonal

Officiant: Rev. Gwen Trullinger

Open Viewing: 12:00 pm-8:00 pm, Tues, Jan 1

Family Present: 4:00 pm-6:00 pm, Tues, Jan 1, all at the United Church of Diagonal

Burial: Bohemian Cemetery - Diagonal, Iowa

Memorials: Diagonal Printing Museum & United Church of Diagonal


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Arlene Sobotka, please visit our flower store.


Sincere sympathy to the Sobotka family Enjoyed knowing Arlene thru tractor pulling and Prescott and Lenox sporting events She was a fun lady to know.

sharon k russell Jan 3 2019 12:00 AM

I was shocked to learn of Arlene's passing. She will be missed and remembered for her dedication to family and the community. She had a heart of gold and one spunky lady! My sympathy to her family , I knew Shelly the most and she has many of her mom's traits. Hold on to your memories and carry on, thats what Arlene would want. Hugs and prayers to you all.

Bert Tassell Jan 3 2019 12:00 AM

My condolences to the family for your loss of Mrs. Sobotka. May God strengthen and comfort you with his promise of the resurrection. Acts 24:15

Amber Micka Jan 3 2019 12:00 AM

So shocked to hear of Arlene's death. She was quite a lady. After reading her obituary, I didn't know her as much as I thought. She and Ozzie were in the hospital a lot. She was a quite lady to me, but I'm sure she could speak her mind if she needed to. She came to the Benton Breakfast for Supper a lot. Always friendly, and such a sweet lady. I'm sure she will be missed in the Diagonal activities, and especially her big family. You have my deepest sympathy, and are in my thoughts and prayers. May God comfort you in the loss of your loved one, Arlene Sobotka.

Linda E Barber Jan 2 2019 12:00 AM

Sympathy to family. Prayers surrounding all.

Barbara Allen Jan 2 2019 12:00 AM

Sympathy and prayers to Arlene's family. May each of you be surrounded by love and wonderful memories as you grieve and celebrate her life. Being unaware of health issues, I was shocked and saddened when Judy called with this news. I have felt that Arlene's dedication to her family to the her community were instrumental in keeping the "home fires burning" in our home town. The community will sorely miss her along with her family. Arlene was a high school friend and the only person I knew that could "keep Oz in line." Peace to one and all. Mary

Mary (Taylor) McCalley Jan 1 2019 12:00 AM

To Shelley and Alan, Doug and Darla. and family, So sorry for your loss of your mother , a true leader in the community who always could be counted on for help and support. l know you will miss her, but she is in a better place and back with Oz. God Bless.

Jon Foley and Routh family Dec 31 2018 12:00 AM

Arlene welcomed us into her family and home, we felt like adopted kids. So many memories of our time spent with this amazing family. Now get Oz moving on his projects, bake a few million pies, organize the angels and send love down from heaven. Jim and Deb

Jim and Deb Gauch Dec 31 2018 12:00 AM

One of my favorite ladies! I didn't know until reading the obituary that there was a rule that you could only have one ice cream sandwich. I always loved sneaking a treat or two on my way out of town. She was a tough lady, with lots of love and a soft heart. She will be missed but will always be remembered of fondly by Mike and I. Love you all! Billi

Billi Hunt Dec 31 2018 12:00 AM