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French stays busy at 97

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011

Arlyne French took Peg Robertson’s painting class at the West Maui Senior Center.

LAHAINA — At 97, Arlyne French decided to take an oil painting class at the West Maui Senior Center. She believes you’re never too old to learn.

She was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1914 and remembers taking a horse and buggy to the doctors when she had Scarlet Fever at ten years old.

As a child, French loved dancing and performed at many PTA, town halls and recitals until she was 16. Later, she enjoyed exhibition ballroom dancing.

In 1942, she married Harold French, who was sent off to the Pacific for three years during World War II. She waited in Augusta, Maine, for him to return.

At 33, Arlyne had her first of four children. She moved 16 times during his military career in the Air Force. Harold retired as a lt. colonel.

Arlyne always kept busy making and selling hooked rugs, volunteering all the time and taking all kinds of art classes.

Fifty-six years later, she wanted to see if she could still paint.

You might have seen her recently speaking to Lahaina Rotarians, or dancing at Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s Progressive Dinner until 10 p.m. at the Pioneer Inn or standing on her hands at a friend’s swimming pool.

Arlyne has been living with her daughter, Melody Law, who manages the Maui Homeward Bound rescue and adoption programs for animals in Napili.