Delores Ann Arsenault, 87, a longtime resident of Grosse Pointe Park and Farms, passed away in her Harbor Place condo in St Clair Shores, MI surrounded by many family members on January 14, 2014.
Delores was born Feb 22, 1926 in Detroit, MI to Achilles Z. Shmina and Blanche Collins Shmina. She graduated from St Mary’s of Redford High School and then received her bachelor’s degree in Early Education with a Major in English from Marygrove College in 1947.
She married Donald E McMillan in 1948 and planned for a large family. After a short time as an elementary school teacher, she became a home manager. While expecting their tenth child, Don died of a heart attack in Sept of 1962.
In 1966, she married Henry George Arsenault, a widower with 7 children. Together, Delores and George raised 17 children on Devonshire Rd in GPP and enjoyed nearly 48 loving years of marriage. They had agreed from the beginning, in order to make their new family work – they would never refer to their children as “yours” or “mine” – only by “ours”, and they kept that vow. They didn’t want anyone to be labeled stepchild, stepparent, or step anything.
Delores was a devout Catholic and relied on her deep faith which guided her throughout her life. She was a dedicated and active parishioner at St Clare of Montefalco Church for over 54 years. Throughout her life she relied on her belief that “God never gives you more than you can handle”. For 66 years she was committed to marriage and family life, and she was extremely proud of her 17 children, 40 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Her enthusiasm for all children was quite remarkable. She was always eager to greet a child with open arms and give them a big hug. Her zest for life was apparent in her twinkling eyes, quick wit, and smile.
Delores was an avid bowler and up until 3 months ago, bowled on two leagues a week. She was proud of her recent achievement of a high game of 253! She also enjoyed golf, ceramics, playing cards, sewing, knitting, gardening, and was a gifted pianist from the age of 4. She was the queen of multi-tasking and was the master of organization. Her well-planned meals for her large family included her amazing home-made desserts. She was well known for her famous apple pie - not only by her family, but by her many friends. She was recently asked how she cooked for a family of 19. “BIG POTS” was her reply. At her large family table, you would often find friends, neighbors, and other relatives, in addition to her family. “What’s one or two more plates!” was her typical response to added guests. This trait has been passed to her children who open their doors to family, friends and relatives, based on her example.
Delores was selfless in her giving and volunteered her time and resources to many organizations. She was always available with a helping hand (and a pot of soup) for an ailing friend and family member. Even in her last days, she was asking and praying for others.
She is survived by George Arsenault, her husband of 48 years; her 15 children, R. Jaimen (Dorothea) McMillan of Schuylerville, NY; Tim (Brigid) McMillan of GPP ; Joe (Jan) McMillan of GPF; Mary Ann Arsenault (Jim Albulov) of Livonia; Tish MacKool (Mike Ryan) of GPP; Pat (Diane) Arsenault of GPW; Ann (Burt) Salinger of Beverly Hills, MI; Margaret (Paul) Roache of Detroit; Marty (Donna) McMillan of GPP; Robert Arsenault DuPont of Bridgeport, MI; Steve (Sharon) McMillan of GPW; Sue McMillan of S.C.S, MI; Aileen Arsenault (Nolan Hampton) of Branchburg NJ; Janet Arsenault Gallagher of Needham, MA, and Mary Ann (Steve) Dollinger of Dix Hills, NY; her 40 grandchildren: Scott (Mitzi) McMillan, Brian (Gwen) Roney, James (Jennifer) McMillan, Kevin Roney, Lara (Jeremy) Moore, Katie MacKool, Julianna (John) Van Wagner , Chris McMillan, Colleen McMillan, Mike MacKool, Sarah Salinger, Chantal DeNardis McMillan, Jackie (Alex) Jaffe, Katie McMillan, Mark (Brea) Albulov, Erin McMillan, Michal McMillan, Anna Albulov, Ryan Arsenault, Eric Salinger, Jimmy McMillan, Michelle Dollinger, Mike McMillan, Elise Arsenault, Max Albulov, Lindsay McMillan, Alexander McMillan, Jared Salinger, Justin Dollinger, Peter McMillan, Lauren Dollinger, Lilly Arsenault, Colin Gallagher, Shana Dollinger, Shane Gallagher, Benjamin McMillan, Patrick Roache, Tara Dollinger, Christian McMillan, and Trevor Dollinger, as well as 15 great-grandchildren. Also survived by her is her brother Arthur Shmina of Redford, MI; sister Mary Louise (John) Plante of Lathrup Village, MI; sisters-in-law Norma McMillan of Brighton MI, Martha Moe of Glendale CA, and Elaine Shmina of Au Gres ,MI; daughter-in-law, Jan Rewers McMillan of GPF, MI, and very close family friend Dr. Carolyn Barth of S.C.S, MI, along with many nephews, nieces, and many friends.
Preceding her in death was her first husband Donald E McMillan, sons Mark Anthony Arsenault and Donald R. McMillan; sisters Patricia Shmina and Virginia MacIntyre, brother Robert Shmina and son-in-law Ken MacKool.
Funeral arrangements are with Charles Verheyden Funeral Home, Grosse Pointe Park; visitation Friday Jan 17th, 2-9PM with a rosary at 7PM. Celebration of Life Mass will be held at St Clare of Montefalco Church on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan on Saturday January 18 at 11:00 AM; in state at 10 AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to St Clare of Montefalco School, at 1401 Whittier Road, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230.
When: Saturday, January 18th, 2014, 11:00am
Officiating: Fr. Andrew Kowalczyk, CSMA
Location: St. Clare of Montefalco
Address: 1401 Whittier, Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Service Extra Info
Instate: 10:00 AM until time of Mass.