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Reba Oleta (Hill) Arceneaux

January 22, 1914 March 9, 2010
Reba Oleta (Hill) Arceneaux
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Obituary for Reba Oleta (Hill) Arceneaux

Montgomery, VT - Reba Oleta (Hill) Arceneaux, 96, passed peacefully March 9, 2010, at the St. Albans Health Care Facility, St. Albans, VT, with her loving family by her side. She was born in Alexander, TX, on Jan. 22, 1914, the daughter of Elbert Jackson Hill and Nettie Gillilan Hill. Her early life was spent on a farm in West Texas. After her father died, when she was 10 years old, the family moved to Stephenville, TX, where her mother married Carl Sheridan Michell. She lived in the southwest most of her life, in Wichita Falls, TX, for almost 30 years, until moving to Vermont later in life to be near her children and their families. Reba graduated from Friona High School in 1932, and West Texas State Teachers College, in Canyon, TX, in 1937. She spent more than 40 years in education in New Mexico and Texas, mostly as a high school librarian. She worked on her Masters Degree in education from the Univ of Illinois, Southern Methodist Univ, and Midwestern Univ. She retired from teaching in Wichita Falls, TX, where she spent the last years of her career. She was a member of the Delta Kappa Gama Society International for key women educators, serving as its president for a year. She married Ralph Early Arceneaux on April 30, 1942, in Dallas, TX, and they had two children, John Early Arceneaux of Colchester, VT, and Melinda Arceneaux Swearingen of Montgomery Center, VT. She had two grandchildren, John Gordon Early Nicholls of St. Albans, VT, and Andrew Allan Arceneaux Nicholls of Amherst, MA. Her husband died May 22, 1994. She is predeceased by two sisters, a half brother, and one niece; they are Roberta White of Henderson, TX, and RuDee Toland of Jacksonville, TX, Carl Michell of Rock Hall, MD, and Rebecca White of Dallas, TX. She is survived by her children and grandchildren and one nephew, Ralph Toland, of Houston, TX and one niece, Virginia Costlow of Richardson, TX. She is also survived by special people in her life: Bonnie Parent Arceneaux, her daughter-in-law; Edward Swearingen, her son-in-law; Ashley Santor Nicholls, her granddaughter-in-law; Samantha Bernard Nicholls, her granddaughter-in-law; Tonya Swearingen Kushner, her step granddaughter-in-law; and her grandchildren’s father, Allan Nicholls, of Burlington, VT. Also surviving her are a sister-in-law, Elaine Brock, of Louisville, KY, two nephews: Jerry Gage, Jr., of Waco, TX, and, Bill Chenault, of Atlanta, GA, and three nieces: Della Bush, of Louisville, KY, Gayle Campbell, of Woodstock, GA and Elaine Clamon of Woodstock, GA. She loved books and poetry and never lost the ability to recite poems memorized in her childhood. She was a devout Christian, a member of the Church of Christ in Texas and in South Burlington, VT. She was a vigorous advocate of people’s rights in a time before it was fashionable, and she was a professional woman before most women worked outside of the home. She is greatly admired by her friends and family, and she is missed. As she requested, her headstone reads, “All is Well.” Services will be held at the Church of Christ on Dorset Street in South Burlington, VT, on March 20, 2010, at 1:30 P.M. Assisting the Arceneaux family is the Heald Funeral Home of St. Albans, VT. Burial of her ashes will be in the Arceneaux family plot in Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas, TX. Messages of condolence are welcome at

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