Polly Arneson

Date of Passing:

October 30, 2019

Polly (Dibble) Arneson, 68, of Manning Drive, Barrington, died peacefully on October 30, 2019 surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of Chuck Arneson.

Born on June 21, 1951 in Danbury, CT, a daughter of the late Ted and Edith (Succop) Dibble, Polly grew up in the communities of Inglewood, CA and Thousand Oaks, CA. Polly was the oldest of four siblings who lost their mother when Polly was a teenager. Her maternal instincts were evident at this point in her life as she cared for her younger siblings throughout their mother’s illness and after her passing.

She received a B.A. in Art History from California Lutheran College (now University) in Thousand Oaks, CA, and earned an M.A. in Education from Rhode Island College. While an undergraduate at CLC, she met the love of her life, Chuck, and they were married on August 19, 1972. They were blessed with 47 precious years together.

Polly lived in Barrington for 36 years. It was here that she and Chuck put down deep roots and shared a beautiful life together with their two wonderful children, Josh and Heather. A loving and patient mother, she was always there for them, guiding and nurturing them throughout their childhood. She loved to sew and made dresses for Heather, and Halloween costumes for the kids. She was enthusiastic and involved in their interests and activities, attended their sporting events, and welcomed their friends into her home as extended family. She taught Josh and Heather an incredible depth of compassion, wisdom, and love. These past few months, as Polly’s condition worsened, her children have lived out all these wonderful qualities they have learned from their mother, as they, along with their dad, attended to her through every step of the difficult journey. Just as she had remained at their side over the years when they were sick or troubled, so they have lovingly done the same for her.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved Polly – her door was always open, and her home was known as a warm, welcoming place for friends and neighbors. She painted the fire hydrant in the family’s yard on Manning Drive to look like a toy soldier for the joy of passing kids. She was a faithful friend who readily provided an empathetic ear and a word of encouragement, and her delightful sense of humor was one of her greatest gifts. Polly lived out her Christian faith in all of her interactions with others. She took the ordinary, wrapped it with love, and then shared it with the world.


Polly was a teacher at St. Margaret School, Rumford for 20 years before retiring in 2016. As an educator, Polly’s impact on her students went far beyond imparting knowledge. The habits she instilled in her students undoubtedly stuck with them and helped them to succeed in their educations beyond her classroom. Indeed, the many students who came back to help her, as adults and college students or graduates themselves, are testaments to the impact she had on her students’ lives. The dedication and love that Polly had for her career was very evident. Seeing her with piles of papers to correct on the dining room table was a familiar sight in the evening. She took great joy in her work, and her dedication to her students didn’t stop when she walked out of her classroom at the end of the school day.

Polly believed in hands-on learning experiences, and she loved the various projects and units she did with her 4th grade students each year. One perennial favorite was having the kids build pilgrim houses out of milk cartons, reeds, etc. After her two grandsons were born, she believed that no visit with Grandma was complete without an educational art project. Douglas and Gavin shared many enjoyable afternoons with Polly, busily building and creating things… including the pilgrim houses.

Polly was a communicant member of St. Luke’s Church, Barrington. After her retirement from teaching, she enjoyed volunteering alongside Chuck in the soup kitchen at St. Charles Catholic Church in Providence. She was happy to do whatever was needed: stocking the pantries with incoming food deliveries, distributing canned goods, fruit, cakes, and pastries to people who came in, and always greeting everyone with her warm, contagious smile. Polly made many friends at the soup kitchen. Although many of them didn’t speak English, Polly’s personality and love for others transcended language.

Her husband Chuck recently expressed, “The finest legacy one can leave, as one leaves this mortal realm, is the love and character of the people you touch while you are here. Polly has touched so many people in her life: relatives, friends, teaching colleagues, students and their parents. The number of people that Polly has helped in their path through life is impossible to estimate.”

Besides her husband of forty-seven years, she is survived by a son, Josh Arneson and his wife Tara of Richmond, VT; a daughter, Heather Arneson of Sunnyvale, CA; two brothers, Dan Dibble and his wife Barb of New Baden, IL, and Andy Dibble and his wife Josephine of Anaheim Hills, CA; a sister, Becky Spurlock of Jeannette, PA; a stepmother, Janet Dibble of Thousand Oaks, CA; her grandchildren, Douglas and Gavin Arneson; and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held in the W. Raymond Watson Funeral Home, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside on Friday, November 8 from 4 PM to 8 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Luke’s Church, 108 Washington Road, Barrington on Saturday, November 9 at 9 AM. Internment will be done privately at a later date at the columbarium of Prince’s Hill Cemetery, Barrington.

In lieu of flowers the family is asking for donations to St. Margaret School in Rumford, RI: https://www.gofundme.com/f/mrs-polly-arneson-memorial-scholarship-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

Online Condolences

19 Comments

  1. We extend our deepest condolences to Polly’s family. We enjoyed many chats during her strolls around the neighborhood and are thankful for her warm presence in our neighborhood. Our hearts are with you at this difficult time and we are holding you in the light.

  2. Heather and family,
    Such a brilliant and heart warming memorial for a life well lived. That fire hydrant must have been a joy for the whole neighborhood. Condolences to you and your family in this time a loss.

  3. Polly was a great friend to me, we met in 1983, when the Arneson family moved from New Jersey to Barrington, R.I. Our boys were close in age and that’s how this 36 year friendship began. We shared many dinners, walks, long chats about our teaching careers, and recently shared a Naples, Florida vacation together. There are no words to describe the tremendous loss we feel. Throughout this horrific disease Polly still welcomed us with her warm heart and million dollar smile! I will forever miss my wonderful friend!! Rest easy sweet Polly!

  4. Polly was a great friend to me, we met in in 1983 when the Arneson family moved from New Jersey to Barrington, R. I. Our boys were close in age and that’s how this 36 friendship began. We shared many dinners together, walks, long chats about our teaching careers, and recently shared a Naples, Florida vacation together. There are NO words to describe the tremendous loss we feel. Throughout this horrific disease Polly still welcomed us with her warm heart and million dollar smile. I will forever miss my wonderful friend!! Rest easy sweet Polly!

  5. Polly was a great friend to me, we met in 1983, when the Arneson family moved from New Jersey to Barrington, R.I.. Our boys were close in age and that’s how this 36 year friendship began! We shared many dinners, walks, long chats about our teaching careers, and recently shared a Naples, Florida vacation together! There are NO words to describe the tremendous loss we feel. Throughout this horrific disease Polly still welcomed us with her warm heart and million dollar smile! I will forever miss you my wonderful friend, you will be missed by all of us who truly loved you! Rest easy sweet Polly!💔

  6. Polly was a wonderful person – lovely on the outside and beautiful on the inside. I send sympathy and love always to her family from her 92-year-old Aunt Shirley. Polly is a special name to me as that is my middle name, as well as that of her Grandmother Dibble. Polly will be in my heart forever.

  7. Sorry for your loss..your family’ is in my prayers!
    Aunt Lili

  8. Beautiful woman.
    A bright light in a murky world.
    She without doubt is now in Paradise.
    Joe and Marilyn Hall

  9. Sorry for your loss. Your family is I our prayers.

  10. I have had the upmost pleasure of knowing the Arneson family for over 20 years and they are the epitome of wonderful people and Polly was always a joy to be around. My deepest condolences, and may she rest in peace. God bless.

  11. I send my heartfelt sympathy. I wish I could have really know the lovely woman her obituary proclaimed. I met her first when we were living in Lompoc, CA., and you brought her up to meet my mother in law, Laura Blackwood. And then again at John Blackwood’s when your dad died. Each of you will continue to be in my prayers.

  12. After reading these wonderful words about Polly, it makes me realize what a precious lady she was to so many people. My heart goes out to you, Chuck, your family and all that we’re so fortunate to know Polly.

  13. Reading this beautiful obituary gave me a sense of the wonderful life Polly lived. Chuck, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  14. Our deepest condolences to all. This beautiful tribute to Polly brings joy in a time of sadness. Thank you for sharing your beautiful wife, mother, sister, and daughter with us. We are all better people because of the friendship and kindness of Polly.

  15. From the first moment I met Polly it was evident her friendliness made her not only a good human being, but also as a teacher someone who can truly communicate which is the essence of teaching. I can only image the impact she has had on so many lives. My heart hurts knowing Polly has passed away. I trust the memories of Polly will bring your family peace.

  16. Our deepest condolences to you Chuck, Josh, Heather and Family. Polly was a wonderful person and will be missed.

  17. Broken hearts in the home of one of Mrs. Arneson’s fortunate fourth grade students. She was a gem. Never to be forgotten, forever to be appreciated.

  18. Heartfelt condolences.

  19. Chuck,
    We’re sorry for your loss. Keeping you and your family in our thoughts.

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