Arlene E. Scheunemann, 79, Como Park’s “Zoo Mama,” died on April 22. She lived in Roseville.

Scheunemann, who founded the Como Park Zoo’s docent program and became matron of its adoption program, was known to bring a variety of animals into her home when she lived in the Como Park neighborhood. Over the years, Scheunemann and her husband, Joe, a retired St. Paul firefighter, adopted dozens of lions, tigers and cougars, a pair of bears, two gorillas, nine orangutans and a few foxes, according to a story in the Pioneer Press.

Born Arlene Seorum and raised in Milaca, Minn., she was the eldest of 10 children. After graduating from high school, she moved to St. Paul and worked as a secretary for Rayette Corp. After marrying Joe, she eventually quit her job to raise their children. It wasn’t long before she began taking baby animals from Como Zoo into her home.

Scheunemann is survived by her husband of 59 years, Joe; children, Vicki, Terri, Joe and Scott (Kathy); two grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and siblings, John (Donna) Seorum, Norma Schaefer and Arnie Seorum. Her memorial service was held April 29 at Como Park Lutheran Church, with interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

A celebration of her life for family and friends was held at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory April 28.

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