Arlan Dwight Soapes was born near Bentonville, Arkansas Sept. 14, 1898. His mother, Lula, died when he was 2 years old .He spent his early years with his grandparents James and Susan Ann Soapes, until his father remarried to Ethel Ollie Lillard and he could then live with them at their farm home. He was raised on the farm near Lowell, Arkansas. His half-sister, Wilma, was born in 1902. The family belonged to the Mt. Hebron church which was about a mile from their home. Arlan was the only member of his eighth grade class who went on to high school in Bentonville, AR and he was a student at the University of Arkansas when he went into the Army at the age of 20 1/2 during World War I. He and Winnie Walker, daughter of Samuel F. Walker and Margaret Emily Baker, met in Bentonville, Arkansas, Winnie was living with her sister Jessie Walker Hook and her son, William. Winnie had resided with Jessie after her schooling in Fayetteville had ended. Jessie ran a rooming house in Bentonville and Arlan had rented a room from her. Winnie and Arlan were married June 11, 1920, and shortly moved to Greeley, Colorado where daughters, Susan Ann and Betty Lou were born. They lived in Greeley about 10 years or so and Arlan was a traveling salesman and later the manager of a department store called Moody's. They left Greeley about 1932 and lived in Goodland KS several years where Arlan sold shoes. In 1935 when Arlan was 37, they moved to Smith Center, Kansas.
On Oct.1, 1935 he and a partner, George Saar, opened a department store on Main Street in Smith Center selling shoes and ready-to-wear clothes for women. 1939 was a bad year for business due to the Depression, and the store couldn't support two families, so they decided one would stay and one would go. George Saar sold his half to Arlan. Over the years, shoes were his biggest seller, and he added men's Key overalls, and men's ready-to-wear. He phased out the women's clothing by the end of the 1960's, but his line of fabrics and sewing supplies was growing and soon it was his main merchandise along with shoes. Soapes Dept. Store was well-known for Dollar Day sales and the Nickel Sale each July. He retired in 1983 and sold his store to Bill and Connie Corbett.
Winnie passed away in 1968 and he was married to Lola Palmer on Nov. 28, 1971. Lola passed away Oct 30, 1985. After her death he was married to Corrine Davis on Oct. 29, 1987. Arlan passed away in Bethesda Care Center, Smith Center, on Oct. 19, 1988.
Arlan Soapes was an active citizen & prominent businessman of Smith Center, KS. He was a member of the Rotary Club, the American Legion and was a Shriner.