In memory of
Ann Bauch Arledge, 77, of Starkville, Mississippi, died March 30, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend – and that was exactly how she wanted to be remembered – in relation to the people she loved most. Yet, she was so much more. Fittingly, her life began and ended not far from where she worked the register at her father's store in downtown West Point, Mississippi. In between, this shopkeeper's daughter's life would lead her to a house in Bangkok, Thailand, a family on the banks of the Pascagoula River, a home at Mississippi State University and trips around the world. Ann Arledge was a Steel Magnolia who took on the world with a beguiling combination of grace, warmth and tenderness and a generous sprinkle of sass, stubbornness and spirit. She embodied the classic Southern lady right down to her lipstick, pearls, bright colors, penmanship, manners, martinis, cookbooks and casseroles. At her table she served the vegetables she enjoyed while growing up near North Mississippi farms, and the shrimp étouffée she perfected as a transplant to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Her favorite places would always be porches, gardens, fireplaces, a soft chair with a poodle in her lap, a desk with pen and paper in hand, a quaint local shop, a bay window with a view of Purple Martins and hummingbirds, her seat behind the home dugout at MSU's Dudy Noble Field, and being in the middle of one of her epic hugs with her children and grandchildren. She was charming even in her contradictions. She loved the South but hated being hot; she knew how to mow a yard and clean a fish but pretended she didn't; she saved everything in meticulous files, except her opinions which she gave away freely; and while she loved the Methodist church she was known to whisper a swear word when the situation absolutely required it. To Ann Arledge the world was a blank page on which she spent so much of her time drawing, coloring, writing, designing and wondering about it all. Her artist's eye was drawn to art that was both established and eclectic – just like her. As a teacher, she shared this passion with her many students over the years. With a degree in speech therapy and a creative touch in the classroom, Ann Arledge was one of the rare educators who taught both children with disabilities and gifted children during her career. She was dedicated to her community, too. She volunteered her time leading the Mississippi Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts for many years. She also served as a local library board member, a Junior Auxiliary president and a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. For more than 56 years, she was deeply devoted to her college sweetheart, John, whom she fell for at an MSU dance while she was a student at her beloved Mississippi University for Women. From their morning coffee to their nighttime cocktails, she was happiest in his company. His time in the Army took them to live across the United States and in Southeast Asia, and her love of travel took them to see the rest of the world together. The family said she would laugh at anything he said, and to that he would frequently turn to her and say "anything," which would make her laugh immediately. Her children and grandchildren were blessed with a family matriarch who was loving and loyal to them without fail. Her love was expressed by encouraging expression itself. She urged her family to read, draw, write, paint, sing, play music and always live a cultured life. Ann Arledge's love of her family was complimented with the loyalty of a lioness as she fiercely supported their every dream and pursuit. To this mother and "Mimi," her children and grandchildren were superb in everything they did. She let others be the stars of her family's sitcom, but she was always the laugh track. Her sweet, cheerful laugh was both a prize worth earning and a music all its own. Her beautiful collection of Santa Claus figurines could not have been more fitting – she and Kris Kringle shared a jolly laugh. Most of all though, this small-town shopkeeper's daughter was living proof that sometimes the simplest and most unassuming lives can be the richest and most significant. Ann Arledge took the little corner of the world God placed her in and made it warmer, happier, brighter and more loving for those around her. In her final years she was imprisoned by a failing, unmoving body, but she stubbornly fought her bondage with her sharp mind and even sharper wit as if to use her trademark phrase, "I beg your pardon!" as a rebuke to her captor. With God's blessings, Ann Arledge has won a final victory over her body and an eternal place for her special spirit. One day her family will find their own way to heaven by following the sweet, familiar sound of her laugh. Ann Bauch Arledge was preceded in death by her mother and father, Alma and Herb Bauch, and her brother, Herbert Bauch. She is survived by her husband, John C. Arledge III, her two children John Arledge (Ginger) and Amy Arledge Allen (Randy), and her grandchildren, Addison Arledge Walker (Harrison), John Nix Arledge, Max Allen and Greta Allen. A private service will be held at the family's request. Memorials may be made to the Mississippi State University Foundation Art Advancement Fund, P.O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762 (or msufoundation.com ), or to Sanctuary Hospice, P.O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38803 (or SanctuaryHospice.org ). You can leave the family a condolence at: www.welchfuneralhomes.com.
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