The Arlen I Knew

I heard about Arlen’s passing this morning from Sarah over the phone. I felt sick to my stomach and like I was in some kind of surreal dream. After hanging up the phone, I sat in my car and cried for some time until I felt exhausted and drained of tears. I just couldn’t believe I wouldn’t talk to him again.


I had just talked with Arlen on Thursday and he had told me all about the inspirational quote (see Jeremy’s blog) about the pianist that missed practices. At the start of boot camp, I asked some nutrition question and no one really answered. Someone in class shouted, “Hey Arlen! How come you didn’t answer? You’re a doctor aren’t you?” I piped in, “Arlen’s just trying to be humble and give someone else a chance to answer because he always knows the answer.” We all laughed together (including Arlen) and he just smiled and winked at me. During the workout, I remember correcting Arlen’s form on a particular exercise (I think it was tricep extensions) and he just smiled and said. “Yeah, I always have trouble with this one because of my old shoulder injury.”

 Arlen Grass Skirt The Arlen I Knew

After the workout was over, Arlen jumped right in and started cleaning up. He noticed an old outlet fixture on the wall and said, “I’ll get those fixed up for you; I have a whole bunch of those plate covers at home.” I said, “Oh that’s okay, Arlen, you don’t have to do that.” He just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I know I don’t have to…I want to.” He smiled and began visiting with one of the other boot campers.


I always looked forward to seeing Arlen each day. Everyone in boot camp did too. He was an inspiration to us all. Arlen would often share a personal story or motivational tidbit at the start of class. One day he told us about his basketball playing days and the importance of living an active life. One day we each shared something we were thankful for and Arlen told us about his grand children, homemade bread, and being grateful he could be so active at his age.


Arlen even brought Tanya and I a homemade loaf of bread he’d made that was absolutely DELICIOUS! That was the Arlen I knew—the man who was always GIVING—the man who was always SMILING—the man who was always WORKING—and the man who was always MAKING US SMILE.


The first time I met Arlen was at crosswinds when Jeremy and I led a boot camp together. Arlen seemed serious and all business when I first met him. I thought, boy he must be a real uptight kind of guy. Was I wrong! Arlen surprised me on several occasions by how much of a comedian and entertainer he could be. One day he joked about being the only guy in a whole class of girls. He said it’s kind of like being in a Harem. We all laughed so hard. He said to all the girls, “You can all just call me Arlene…I’m just another one of the girls.” We were all in stitches picturing Arlen as a girl. A few weeks later (just a couple of weeks ago) Arlen entertained us again when he put on a grass skirt in class and began dancing around waving his arms and hips. Everyone in class was laughing so hard that some of us had tears.




Arlen was anything but uptight! He was just the opposite. He was always smiling; always sharing, always giving; always open to suggestion despite his tremendous knowledge, always positive and upbeat. He loved his family, his life, his friends, and we…I…loved him too!

530 pm Boot Camp The Arlen I Knew


I miss you horribly, Arlen, but I know you are with Jesus now and I can’t wait to see you again someday in FOREVER. Thank you for being such an example to me of the true nature of Christ and for being my friend.



Arlen The Arlen I Knew

Posted in Fitness, Life Without Walls by Trainer Bo | 3 Comments


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