American Patriotic 10

Nina Marie Arkell

August 7, 1927 ~ February 24, 2022 (age 94)


ARKELL, Nina “Marie”, age 94, passed away Thursday, February 24th, 2022, at Parkview Memory Care in Walla Walla, WA.  Marie was born on a cotton farm in Canton, Mississippi (pronounced Missippi!) on August 7th, 1927. She reveled in telling stories of how, as the baby of the family, her older sisters Ruth and Opal allowed her to play with the animals and run in the fields while they did her share of the crop work.  She was a graduate of Canton High School.

Marie met and married James Courtright, an enlisted Navy man, and after World War II moved with him to Pendleton where they ran a family auto repair business with Marie as a self-taught bookkeeper. Together they raised two sons, Emmett and Leroy, until her husband’s death in 1977.  She attended BMCC to further her bookkeeping skills and made a career working at various local businesses, eventually retiring from the housing office of the Umatilla Indian Reservation where she took great joy in providing the Elders with special care and attention.

Marie led an active social life that included bunko, pinochle, fundraisers, socials, and Square Dancing to name a few.  She was re-introduced to her son’s elementary school teacher, Bill Arkell, at Square Dancing lessons.  A friendship developed into a romance, and they were married on May 6th, 1985.  They enjoyed 37 years of marriage filled with numerous trips (Reno was a favorite!) and events. Active memberships with the VFW & Ladies’ Auxilliary took them all over the United States and Marie’s love of meeting people provided her with many long-lasting friendships in all walks of life.

She had a huge loving heart for all of God’s creatures.  She took in numerous strays and refused to allow even spiders to be killed in her house (“You’d better take that outside – don’t you Dare step on it!”).  At one time, her love of animals had her sharing their home with 5 cats and 3 dogs along with anything else that found refuge in their yard.  Friends often commented that, if there were such a thing as reincarnation, they would want to come back as one of Marie’s cats!

Marie was preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and Lucy Reese; her sisters, Opal Reese Greuter and Ruth Reese Hughes; and her former husband James Courtright.  She is survived by her husband William “Bill” Arkell; her two sons, Emmett Courtright and his wife Linda of North Bend, OR and Leroy Courtright of Pendleton; her step-son Garth Arkell and his wife Dee of Spokane, WA; her step-daughters Kelli Hull and her husband Dave of Olympia, WA and Candi Smith and her husband Dean of Walla Walla, WA; as well as 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral Services will be held at 1:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2022, at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel in Pendleton with a private family burial to follow at Olney Cemetery. 

The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the wonderful care given by Wheatland Retirement Village and Parkview Memory Care in Walla Walla during her last stage of life.  “Miss Nina Marie” was a favorite among staff members, and they took great care in keeping her blue eyes bright and twinkling and a smile on her face. 

In lieu of flowers, friends may make memorial contributions to the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter Pioneer Humane Society Adoption-Spay/Neuter fund; 517 SE 3rd St., Pendleton OR 97801, (541) 276-0181. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nina Marie Arkell, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
March 11, 2022

1:00 PM
Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, Folsom-Bishop
131 SE Byers Avenue
Pendleton, OR 97801

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