Arlene Bielau Killian, 91, preceded in death by her husband, William (Bill) Jay Killian, passed away on April 2, 2019, at the Glen at Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster, PA. Known as “Nanny” to her grandchildren and “Chink” to her friends and family, Arlene was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. Here is just a little bit of her story.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, to the late Otto and Ruth Sexauer) Bielau, Arlene was the third of their four daughters (Joan, Miriam, Arlene, and Barbara). She grew up in Pittsburgh and later graduated from Slippery Rock University, becoming a PE teacher at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh.
Then along came the love of her life, Bill, also from Pittsburgh. They married and moved to then-rural Wexford, PA, to live on their beloved Marbilmont Farm, where she became a homemaker who dedicated herself to raising their four children.
Besides loving life on the farm, Arlene was active in local politics, especially concerning Pine Township, loved to entertain with big family-style meals and pool parties, and raised award-winning St. Bernards. Outside the farm were regular trips to Deep Creek Lake, MD, and vacations to the Jersey Shore’s Golden Inn. She was also a member of Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA, for more than 60 years.
Arlene loved chuckling over novelty items — especially Pittsburgh or politics-related, decorating for Christmas, challenging herself with a good crossword puzzle, growing African violets and orchids, and enjoying an ice-cold cocktail before dinner. Above all, she was an avid sports fan, faithfully cheering on her Pittsburgh teams (she never missed a Pitt tea dance, enjoyed hosting Penguins playoff parties, and rooted proudly for the Steelers). Although she enjoyed Super Bowls and Stanley Cups, one of her most cherished Pittsburgh sports moments was sitting with Bill at Forbes Field, watching Bill Mazeroski’s ninth-inning home run to beat the NY Yankees in the 1960 World Series.
Later in life, Arlene and Bill visited Lancaster and fell in love with the area. They made Willow Valley their second home and found many friends there – old and new. They were blessed by many visits from family and friends.
Arlene is survived by her children, Linda K. Reitz, William P. Killian (Julie B.), Kristen K. Walker (James W.), and Patrick S. Killian (Jennifer S.); nine grandchildren, Jessica Curtin (Joe) and Ryan Reitz, Jeffrey and Laura Killian, Jacob Walker, Emily, Lauren, and Aaron Killian, and Connor Beard; many nieces and nephews; and countless friends.
Arlene was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished. After living a long, blessed life, we can find peace, knowing she’s at Bill’s side, probably humming a show tune.
A private burial will be held on July 20, 2019, in Bethlehem, PA, where Arlene will be laid to rest beside her husband. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Heart Association (http://www2.heart.org/goto/Arlene_Killian) or the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind ((717) 766-2020 or https://www.pablind.org/donate-online/). For service details or to leave an online condolence, please visit www.DeBordSnyder.com