Laura Arloine Nile was born September 6, 1923. The Great Depression began before her sixth birthday and continued until her sixteenth. Like many families during that time, Arloine’s family struggled financially. They were, to put it mildly, poor. Very poor. When Arloine was in grade school she had to walk a mile and a half to and from school each day.

In High School, Arloine owned one dress. She would come home from school each day and wash it out so she could put it on again the next day to go back to school. Embarrassed by only owning a single outfit for so long, she made the decision to quit school at the age of 16.

Arloine had been dating a man named William Russell whom a friend had introduced her to. Soon after she quit school, she and William Russell married in October of 1939. She was just 16. They moved to Jamestown where their first child, Bev Russell (Franzen) was born. In 1941 they bought an old florist shop on Warren Jamestown Boulevard in Kiantone and began to slowly convert it into a home.

The move to the boulevard placed them next door to Frank and Ruth Howe, members of the C&MA Church located on 2nd Street. The Howe family invited the whole Russell family to attend church. Arloine and William were in the habit of hiring a sitter on Saturday nights and going to the bars, so they didn’t take the Howes up on the offer. At least not right away. Then one day, after another child had been added to the family, Arloine’s husband William told her she needed to bring the kids to church. He was quite insistent though he never went very often himself.

Arloine began to attend and later accepted Jesus Christ as her savior. At some point after that, Arloine knew that God wanted her to quit smoking, and so she threw her cigarettes out and never had another. She must have made the decision not to drink at some point as well because the children never saw alcohol in the home growing up. When William’s parents moved in for a time, Arloine told her father-in-law there would be no alcohol in her home and no spittoon. Her stance was so firm that even though the father-in-law struggled with alcoholism, he never brought a drop into the house.

She became very active in the church, joining the choir and ladies’ missionary circle where she sewed clothes for the missionaries going back to the field. She continued attending the church when it moved to its present location on West 3rd Street when Rev. Dwight Steiner was pastor.

The invitation that she had received from the Howes came full circle when she invited a new neighbor to church, Karen (Deprather) Kell. Following Arloine’s death, Karen wrote the following words of how Arloine had reached out to her:

“When we first moved to Jamestown, NY, I knew one person, I had three babies, and my husband worked two jobs. I was very much alone. One day Arloine came to my door, asked if I would like to come to church at the C&MA church and drove me and my children. Her daughter, Carol, started to babysit for me on special occasions with no pay, so I could go to other activities with Arloine. …She was a very special mom, friend, neighbor, and wife. She took me under her wing and treated me like one of her family. She loved my children like her own, and I never forgot her. I can still hear her happy, infectious laugh.”

Arloine remained an active member in the Jamestown C&MA Church, until she remarried Arthur Hodges several years after the death of her first husband. She then joined the Frewsburg Alliance Church where Art attended in the early 1990’s and was actively involved there until her death in 1997.

Arloine is pictured in the front row, third from the right, in her one dress.

William and Arloine on their 25th wedding anniversary.

Arloine and Art Hodges February 23, 1991




Alma Walker

Arloine was a member when we were in Jamestown. I remember her as an active, loving person who would do anything for anyone. She had a big heart for God and for people.