DE SOTO, MO (KTVI) – Family and friends are mourning the loss of an 80 year-old De Soto woman who passed away during Thursday’s floods.
Arlie Hopper was well known and well loved in town. She was leaving a bingo game at the De Soto Senior Center on Thursday, headed to a church dinner, when the flood waters overwhelmed her. Although her death has been met with extreme sadness, her pastor knows she is in a better place.
For 43 years, Arlie Hopper was an active member of First Free Will Baptist Church. Bob Thebeau has been her pastor for 20 of them. The 80 year-old was also the grandmother of his daughter in-law.
Thebeau says, “I knew her on a personal basis, a spiritual basis, a friend basis; she’s what we preachers love to have in our congregation. She’s just a sweet, encouraging soul along the way, who would tell you if you were wrong, but always had a lot of love and a lot of prayers behind what she did.”
As a testament to that love, many in the small community saw her as a mother and grandmother. She was a spiritual person who always found ways to help others.
Thebeau explains, “I remember in particular a homeless couple that I had helped out one time and took to the grocery store. I ran into Arlie while we were there, and the spirit that she gave them, the sweetness, the love, the kindness, just speaks to how she would share that with anyone she met.”
She also shared that sweetness, literally. Her pastor says she’d always ask the church retreat bus to pull over at Russell Stover: “She’d buy chocolate and pass it around, give to other people.”
The loss of this generous soul is shocking to those who knew and loved her, but it’s also bittersweet, just like her chocolates.
“We know, the family knows, where she’s at, she’s with the Lord, she’s happy. She’s anticipated this moment in her life and prepared for it, and left a good light to shine,” says Thebeau.
Arlie Hopper is survived by several siblings, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Her obituary, as well as testimonials from family and friends, can be viewed on the funeral home’s web site: http://www.dietrichfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Arlie-Hopper/