Arlene Mae Knowles, 80, passed away September 28, 2019

Arlene Mae Knowles, 80, of Benton Harbor, passed away surrounded by loved ones at Spectrum Health-Lakeland on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

A celebration of life will be held at Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph, on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 12pm with Pastor Bob Confer officiating. Friends may visit with the family on Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 10am until time of service at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, Paws of Hope, or St. Joseph Senior Center. Those wishing to leave a condolence online may do so at

Arlene was born on March 16, 1939, the daughter of Jay and Lillian (Palmbos) Kosten. She was raised in Marne, Michigan where she graduated from Marne High School. Following graduation, she married Harry Zimmerman whom she had two children with, Mike and Kim Zimmerman. Arlene moved to Niles, Michigan where she raised her family until relocating to St. Joseph, Michigan in the early 1970’s after marrying Willard Knowles. Arlene worked for the Berrien County School District driving a school bus for children with special needs before retiring. Arlene continued to enjoy her friendships with her co-workers throughout the years.

Arlene enjoyed sports, both as a spectator and a participant. Arlene regularly played tennis at Southshore Health and Racquet Club with a wonderful group of women who became her lifelong friends. She and her friends were able to travel to see Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the French Open. Arlene traveled extensively both with her daughter and her friends. Some of her highlights were cruising to the Caribbean and Hawaii and traveling to England, Spain, China, Nova Scotia, and many other wonderful destinations. Later in life, Arlene played Bridge which allowed her to continue to socialize with wonderful friends.

Arlene is survived by her children, Mike (Krissy) Zimmerman of Columbia, MO and Kim Zimmerman of Decatur, GA; granddaughter, Mallory Little; two nephews Jeff and Jason Hunt; cousins, including Fred and Joyce Koston; and numerous friends who are considered family.

Arlene was preceded in death by her parents, Jay and Lillian Kosten; husband, Willard Knowles; and sister, Barb Hunt. 

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