Arla (Spinner) Thomas
June 11, 1957-July 24-2014
Arla Mae (Spinner) Thomas was born on June 11, 1957, in Tyler, MN, to Lew and Margaret Spinner. She grew up in Marshall, MN, graduating from Marshall High School in 1975. She move to “the cities” shortly after graduating High School. She went to school for Retail Floristry working in this field and obtaining a passionate love of flowers that she maintained throughout her life. In the early 80s, while working as claims adjuster, she met her husband, Mark. She changed direction to health care, and completed her Certified Medical Assistant, working at several clinics. In 2004, Arla achieved her dream, obtaining her RN shortly before son Patrick graduated High School. She worked as an RN for employee health services, first at Fairview Southdale and retiring from Allina West Health two years ago. Her RN also qualified her to travel on a medical mission to Peru, and Hurricane Wilma in Florida. Arla passionately embraced life through gardening, family, painting – landscaping – gardening at her sons new house, biking, camping, quilting, needlepoint, watercolor and oil painting, ceramics, paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, ceramics, mosaics, decorating, baking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating and gardening (yes, it was worth mentioning again!).She also admired art of all kinds – studying, appreciating and creating it. She loved all of nature, but was repeatedly awed by each sunset. Her sense of family was absolute. She was a dedicated mother, volunteering through the years for school field trips, Cub Scout den mother, Boy Scouts and hosting her son’s buddies at the house, co-chairing the graduation all night party. Events were well planned and always successful, whether they were holiday gatherings birthday parties or a simple dinner. Her many relatives looked forward to “what she’s come up with” for family gatherings, whether it was a new game, a craft she was working on or a new recipe she “had to try.” Her energy was boundless. She was always “doing” and whatever she was doing, it usually had something to do with the water, making something beautiful or helping out somewhere. Starting 2 years ago, she accelerated her “living” by nonstop activity – to the point of camping with a group at the Root River on a ‘river clean up’ crew – on her way to chemo at Mayo the next morning. She is survived by her husband Mark, son Patrick, father Lew of Marshall, MN, sister Sandra (Rory), nieces/nephews Adam, Andria, Brennan, Leah, Maggie & Kate. Those that passed before are her friend and mom Margaret and infant brother Owen. The family would like to acknowledge Mayo doctors Matt Block (Arla said, “the best Oncologist and person I’ve run into through this”), Carrie Langstraat and KM Reid Lombardo at Mayo for finding a way to help Arla get her gardening done this year. Also, Diane and Marion of Allina Hospice for using their special skills in helping with Arla’s transition. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, at Unity Christ Church, 4000 Golden Valley Drive, Golden Valley, MN. Memorials to mnovarian.org (MOCA), or as she was lifelong multi-gallon donor, donate blood whenever possible. Finally, if you’d like to honor Arla, make an effort to be active and embrace life wherever you can.