Hailey lost one of its most precious crown jewels on Feb. 4, 2011, with the passing of longtime resident Alba Arndt. She died eight months after her 100th birthday, an event that brought her great joy because she was able to visit with so many of her dear and lasting friends.
Alba was born in 1910 in Virginia, Idaho. Four years earlier, her parents, Michael and Sadie Ber-toglio, immigrated from Italy to homestead the sagebrush land in southeastern Idaho. Her father donated the land for the Virginia school where Alba was a student. She graduated from high school in 1928 in nearby Downey and attended the University of Idaho-Southern Branch, now known as Idaho State University in Pocatello. She taught schools in Bannock County for five years. During that time she met Chet Arndt, who was working for the state of Idaho in Pocatello. They were mar-ried in 1936.
The couple later moved to Manhattan, Kan., where Chet took a job with Kansas State University. After World War II they returned to Idaho. In 1950, they bought one of the Hailey's earliest homes, the Bailey house on Third Avenue, where Alba continued to live until January 2010. Chet passed away in 1992.
Alba was a certified teacher, but stayed home to raise her son, Henry, before returning to the classroom in 1954. She taught reading and music to hundreds of fortunate Hailey students for 20 years until retiring in 1974.
Alba was interested in a wide variety of topics, but she especially loved music and reading. For many years she played the piano and organ at church services, weddings and other events—many Hailey brides have marched down the aisle in time to her music. Following retirement, she served as the librarian at the Hailey Library. She was selected to represent Hailey on the Blaine County Museum's Heritage Court in 2006.
Always well informed, even in her later years after her hearing and sight had diminished, Alba appreciated each day as it unfolded and took great joy in life's little pleasures, such as her prized pear tree, her comforting house, the Sun Valley Symphony and visits with her legion of friends.
Survivors include her sister Lola in Downey; son, Henry (Jeanette) of Elkhart, Ind.; four grand-children and three great-grandchildren. Her sister Erma died in Hillsboro, Ore., last fall.
Alba leaves a legacy of treasured friendships that include people of all ages and from all walks of life. Most of the friends from her early years in Hailey are gone. But Alba constantly renewed her stock of friends as new people came into her life and discovered what a remarkable and inspira-tional person she was. In some cases, her friendships extended back five generations in the same family. Her optimistic attitude, enthusiastic support of others, appreciation for what she had and love of life itself will be fondly remembered and serve as life lessons for all who knew her.
Services were held on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at St. Charles Catholic Church.
The family would request in lieu of flowers to please make donations to muscular dystrophy.
Arrangements are under the care of Wood River Chapel. Friends are invited to leave condolences and share memories at www.woodriverchapel.com.