Arlie T. Plemmons, 74, passed away on Dec. 30, 2012 one day after returning home from Loma Linda, with his devoted wife Shirley and family at his side. He was born on Jan. 18, 1938, in Oklahoma to Fred and Hazel Plemmons.
As a young child, Arlie, his parents and brother Noel moved to Blythe where Arlie attended Palo Verde High School. At 17, Arlie enlisted in the U.S. Navy and began carving out an impressive career that spanned 22 years, rising to the rank of Master Chief. He married and had three children while proudly continuing to serve our country. As an expert helicopter pilot he completed four tours of duty to Vietnam, and additional tours throughout the world.
His toughest battle was when the USS Forrestal, stationed off the coast of Vietnam, became engulfed in flames after four of the ship's 1000 pound bombs exploded. He risked his life repeatedly while flying out wounded and dying crewman. Arlie served 18 months at the American embassy in Iran, and served on the recovery team for an Apollo Splashdown. Arlie received numerous commendation medals for his military service. His Navy career took him to over 20 countries and a couple that he "snuck into" and "toured" on his own.
After retiring from the Navy, Arlie opened Arlie's Automotive in Chula Vista, Calif. After closing shop, and a couple of moves, he returned home to Blythe. It was at this time that Arlie became re-acquainted with childhood sweetheart, Shirley Pilgrim, whom he married. Arlie became "Pops" to her daughters and "Grandpa" to their children, and "Papa" to his namesake, great-grandson, Gage Arlie.
Arlie was a member of the Blythe Elks Lodge, American Legion, and VFW where he serviced twice as post commander. He loved entertaining family and friends out on the farm, where a typical day consisted of a barbeque, country music, laughter, and tending an evening fire. He loved an early sunrise with a warm cup of coffee, long desert rides, and watching the sun set on the back acreage of the farm.
Everyone that knew him will agree that Arlie was a "man's man" with a tremendous work ethic and intense patriotism. While his exterior was gruff, his heart was tender. He loved his family and adored his dogs, which there never was a shortage of on the farm. Surely his tenderness was never more evident than when he named the ugliest mutt ever born on the farm, "Handsome." He traveled the world, but was most content in his own back yard, riding his John Deere. And, on any given evening, you could find him in his recliner, sharing dinner with one of his dogs, hand firmly on his remote with a book by his side. He was an avid reader with a brilliant mind with a vast array of knowledge on most any subject, and somehow, he was always right...He loved to share Navy stories and tales of life-long antics that will leave us smiling for years to come. Whether in navy dress returning a salute, or in wranglers and boots, Arlie was respected, loved and cherished and will be forever in our hearts.
He is survived by his loving wife Shirley; daughters, Carole Towriss (Plemmons) of Maryland and Dena Plemmons of San Diego; and son John Plemmons of Mesa, Ariz.; as well as Vickie Grimes and Dorothy Earhart of Blythe; and brother Noel Plemmons of Mojave Valley, Ariz. He leaves grandchildren Emma, Mira, Dara and John Towriss, Chris Chaparro, John Mills, Brittany Bigler, Stephanie Hollingshed and great-grandson Gage Arlie Mills. Also, included in his family circle are "the boys," Ed Eddings and Rudy Carter, his Navy brothers brothers-in-arms; and last but not least, "the kids" - Handsome, Dude, Hoochie Mama and Maggie.
A "Celebration of Life" Service will be held on Jan, 11, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the VFW in Blythe. Please come and share in this special day of remembrance with our family.