Richard O. Arne, 91, of Willmar, died Monday, May 27th at Bethesda Grand. His funeral will be 11:00 am, Friday, May 31st at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Thursday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Richard Oliver Arne was born February 20, 1928, on a farm near Danvers, MN, to Oliver and Emma (Haugen) Arne. He attended school in Alexandria and graduated from St. Olaf College in 1950.
On August 8, 1953, he married Mary Louree (McDonald) Erickson in Arcadia, CA at the Church of the Good Shepherd. They moved to Willmar that same year where he worked as a claims adjuster for Mutual Service Insurance Company. In the early 60’s he started Independent Adjusters of Willmar, which he sold to Viking Adjusting of St. Cloud in 1968. He became the first personnel director for Jennie-O-Foods in 1968 and entered the real estate business in 1976 with Corneil-Elkjer Agency. He founded Eagle Realty in 1978 and remained in the real estate business until his retirement from Edina Realty, where he was a broker/agent for many years.
He was president of the West Central Board of Realtors and was honored as outstanding agent by that board. Dick’s community activities included: Jaycee president, Kandiyohi County GOP chairman, Becker House charter board (a self-help home for recovering alcoholics in Willmar), chartered and served as first president of Mended Hearts in Willmar in 1982, and was a member of the Willmar Planning Commission from 1983-1987. He received the Jaycee/Chamber Outstanding Citizen Award in 1989 and was also an active volunteer at The Barn, serving on its board from 1989-91. At Bethel Lutheran, Dick served as a Sunday School Superintendent, Tuesday school teacher, secretary and president of the church council, acolyte coordinator for 25 years along with various other positions. Dick was a member of the Sons of Norway, Fedraheimen Lodge. He volunteered at Rice Hospital and Willmar Design Center, where he was a leading force in its origin.
He was an avid basketball and football fan having played on varsity teams in high school and at St. Olaf College. His favorite sport was fishing with his family and friends. Gardening was his passion at all of his homes. He will be remembered also for his integrity, wonderful sense of humor and his charming character.
Dick is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, and his children: Gretchen Arne of Zephyrhills, FL; Laura Arne of Willmar, and Erik (Brenda) of Little Falls. Also surviving are four grandchildren and four great grandchildren: Alison (Kevin) Zimmermann and daughter, Fiona; Shane (Heather) Arne and sons, Brandon and Caleik; Grant Underland and Brett (Jenny) Arne and son, Ryker, as well as many Haugen and Arne cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his son, Greg, and brother, Leo Arne and sisters, Wilma Schwalen and Florence McNamee, along with many cousins.