May 6, 1938December 6, 2018
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Arlen Lee Shire (Arlen the Darlin’), born May 6, 1938, passed away peacefully on December 6, 2018. He is survived by his three children, Michael Lee, Miriam Adele, and Aaron Joseph; three grandchildren, Marcus, Lucas, and Jacob; and by his siblings Arlene, Noel, Carolyn, Kent, Colleen, Neil, Michael, Kevin, Ray, and Eli.

Arlen was always a patriot, joining the United States Navy as a teenager and serving for twenty years, retiring as a Petty Officer, First Class. After his retirement he continued working in civil service for Naval Public Works. Even after his second retirement he continued to serve his community and others, receiving a Congressional Citizens award for his fight for affordable housing and efforts against rampant condominium conversions in the San Diego area.

He also served on a more personal level, as the ultimate family man. He provided a loving home to his three children, always giving love; and providing support, advice, and counsel when needed. He also was a loving father-in-law, treating his daughters-in-law and son-in law as his own children.

Finally, Arlen was a man of God. A man who saw in the Bible not just words on a page, or the means to get into heaven, but as a guide for life; and always strove to be the best man he could be, and to lead others through advice and example.

In his free time he enjoyed playing boogie woogie piano, giving tours aboard the USS Midway, while staying involved with local political issues. He also enjoyed helping anyone that needed assistance, whether it was fellow veterans, those who are homeless, the disabled, or simply people down on their luck.

Viewing will be held at the Chula Vista Bible Church on December 18 and 19 from 5:30p.m to 9:30p.m. A special service for Arlen will be held there as well on December 19 at 7:30p.m. Arlen will then be laid to rest at the Miramar National Cemetery on December 20 at 2:00p.m. A special thank you to all the healthcare professionals who cared for Arlen through his final days, the congregation at the Chula Vista Bible Baptist Church, and close friends and family for all of their assistance and love through a difficult period.


  • Viewing Tuesday, December 18, 2018
  • Viewing Wednesday, December 19, 2018
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, December 19, 2018
  • Committal Service Thursday, December 20, 2018


have a memory or condolence to add?

Murat Muslu

December 31, 2018

We met Arlen in November 2012 visiting San Diego. He guided us over and through the USS Midway and afterwards showed us many interesting places along the San Diego coastline.

From the very first moment it never felt just like meeting a very good friends father, but spending our time with a close family member.

Thank you so much for giving us one of our best days in life.

Farewell Admiral!

Your friends from Germany,
Murat & Maik

Hoi Wai Leung

December 21, 2018

I had been fortunate enough to stay in Arlen's house when I visited America during summer 2011. He was a kind gentleman , an enthusiast about community issues, a great tour guide fond of knowledge about the city, and most importantly, a loving member of the family. Years after the trip, when I thought he might have forgot about this teenager he met just once, he still used to sent me postcards, which ware always full of kind words.

I had always cherished the brief time we spent together, and I believe Arlen will live in our hearts for days to come. May you rest in peace, and best wishes to your family.

John Sano

December 19, 2018

I’m very sorry for your family’s loss. Arlen has been my staunch friend for over 50 years, and I will miss him greatly. My brother, Tine-L, in Osaka also sends his sincere condolences.

Remember Arlen, the circle will not be broken. We will all meet together soon in the sweet by and by.

Your friend,
John Sano

James Gutierrez III

December 18, 2018

Alren was a kind, loving, selfless, and generous man, and I only wish I had spent more time with him in the years we’ve known each other. His son AJ and I went to school together, and have remained good friends since. Our crew of misfits would frequent ‘AJ’s pad’ (More appropriately Arlen’s home), and Arlen always welcomed us cheerfully with a story from his adventures of the day. He in many ways was a father to our group, and I personally had the blessing of having him around as a care taker in moments undeserved, be it rides home when I’d hang out with AJ too late and didn’t have anyone to pick me up, or when he would visit my house randomly just to check on me and my mother to make sure we were ok. I always knew him to be someone who cared about me, and felt safe whenever he was around.

Arlen, thank you for your loving generosity. For your care to always make a person’s day brighter, regardless of what you may have already planned. For your willingness to be there when times were tough, and for giving me a taste of how we can impact others positivetly, even in our imperfect humanity, guided under a perfect savior. You reflected Jesus’ light amongst the darkness in life in more ways than you’ll ever know, and I’m forever grateful to you for that. I know that your legacy will live on through the stories told to the children under your lineage, and that you will never be forgotten.

Longfei Chang

December 17, 2018

It was in the middle March, 2012 when I and another three guys from China, Junjie Sheng, Yanjie Wang and Zicai Zhu first met Arlen in the Old town of San Diego. It was our first time been abroad for an international conference. We got lost in the old town and couldn’t find the bus stop to get to the coastline, where Arlen stopped and kindly offered help for us. He took us around, drove us to the beach on the silver strand, introduced to us some mexican food and gave us a lot of guidance about our trip. It was a cloudy day, but the love and kindness from Arlen brightened our first trip in the foreign country and left us a very nice memory.
Goodbye Arlen! Thank you for ever being in my life. I will always remember the ride you gave us around the west coastline of American, the effusive love and warmness that’s hard to hidden when you talked about your children and grand children, and also the life wisdom you shared with me. May you rest in peace!

John Velasquez

December 13, 2018

It was a pleasure and an honor to have known Arlen. We were both former Navy service members. Although our military service occurred decades apart, we shared a mutual respect for one another that I will always cherish. We also shared a steadfast love of country and family. God Bless my friend.

Valerie Shields

December 13, 2018

I first met Arlen when I was Principal of Pence School, and he came to me , asking for my support in opposing the condo conversions of neighborhood apts. His commitment to battling “city hall, “ and helping his community was inspiring! He had no problem contacting City Council members, and state congress people in his pursuit of justice for the “common folk,” (all the rest of us.) After I retired, we would sometimes meet for lunch, plus he loved calling me with proud updates on his family. He was always so proud of his kids & grandkids! I will miss hearing from “Arlen the darlin’.” Farewell, my friend. I m sure u r regaling the angels with all your stories.

Chita Joaquin

December 13, 2018

I always remember you as a loving father to AJ whose mother is my sister. You took care of him while his mother was assigned in Europe.
May God bless you and may eternal light shine upon you. May you Rest In Peace. My family will offer a mass in your honor at St Lawrence Church in Sacramento California.

Theresa "Terri" (Shire) Brittingham

December 12, 2018

I never actually met Arlen but did talk with him on the phone several times over the years when my father, Norman Shire was still alive. He was always interesting and interested in what was going on around him. May he rest in Peace.

Tim Kuschel

December 12, 2018

Arlen (Mr. Shire), lives in my memory as a happy, loving father. He always greeted me with a hardy handshake, even back when I was in elementary school. Teaching me that a firm grip meant you were really happy to meet someone. My fondest memory is of him strolling into the cafeteria during lunchtime at Finney Elementary, and playing songs on the piano. Fortunately, he was able to pass on his talent and love for music.
Rest in Peace, Arlen.