Arliss Marie Holdeman was born on September 20, 1924 in Fall River, KS, the daughter of Charles Roy and Marie Donart.
She died on Friday, September 29, 2017, nine days after her 93rd birthday. She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Samuel Holdeman (2001) and son, Arthur Samuel Holdeman, Jr. (2000). She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Holdeman (Linda Powell) of Lawrence and brother C.R. Donart (Barbara) of Ottawa.
After living in Fall River until Arliss entered High School, her family moved to Franklin County and she graduated from Lane High School in 1942. Arliss lived a fiercely independent life starting with employment after high school to support the WWII war effort in the fall of 1942. After completing training as both a welder and a riveter, she relocated, found an apartment and worked for a Kansas City area glider company, Rearwin Aircraft Company. Her eye sensitivity increased due to the work in the welding environment which caused her to end her employment there.
With the rising demand for skilled aircraft employees, Arliss moved to Wichita in the spring of 1943 and spent the remaining years of the war working at Aero Parts Manufacturing Company, Boeing Aircraft Company, and Beechcraft. Boeing needed riveters for the B-29 SuperFortress. Arliss was very proud of her service as a “Rosie the Riveter” and her work on the plane that “won the war”. Her 4’ 11” frame was ideal for the small spaces in the frame of the aircraft. “One of the biggest thrills of my life was stepping off a bus one evening hearing the newsboys shouting the successes of the B-29 in the Pacific theater”.
After three years, with many months of 10 hour workdays/seven days a week, Arliss returned home and prepared to enter Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia. She taught Second Grade in Cottonwood Falls, KS for a year prior to her marriage to Arthur S. Holdeman in 1947. She and her husband continued to live in Cottonwood Falls for the remainder of their married life, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 1997.
Arliss moved to Lawrence in 2003 and returned to apartment living close to her daughter, Margaret. She enjoyed listening to KU Basketball games which were a nice diversion from her Library of Congress books on tape. With limited vision due to Macular Degeneration, Arliss was never far from a radio or her book recordings. She was up to date on all news due to BBC Radio, NPR and her favorite program, “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”.
Apartment life continued until a hospitalization in May 2017. For many weeks she vowed to maintain her independence at Babcock residence but finally settled in to Assisted Living at Windsor Place where she passed away listening to a Frank Sinatra CD.
Private family graveside services will be held at a later date at Prairie Grove cemetery in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.
Memorial contributions may be made to Kansas Public Radio Broadcasting (KPR), sent in Care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.