TOM L. ARNSONTom Lewis Arnson, age 78, of Washburn, WI died Wednesday evening, December 26, 2012, in his home, held tightly in the arms of his family.
Tom Lewis Arnson, age 78, of Washburn, WI died Wednesday evening, December 26, 2012, in his home, held tightly in the arms of his family.
He was born Dec. 23, 1934, at the Farm, to Oscar and Elsie (Grupstra) Arnson. He went to grade school at Washburn DuPont School and graduated from Washburn High School in 1953. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining the Army, which took him to Germany right after World War II. He loved Germany and had 18 months of adventures before returning home to Washburn.
He excelled at various jobs, including "loggin' with Haugen" and picking berries for a penny a pint, before starting at LSDP Bayfront Steam Plant in Ashland (later NSP and Xcel Energy), where he worked for 33 years. He retired in 1991, at the age of 57. He was a volunteer fireman for the Washburn Fire Department for over 20 years, was active in bowling leagues for over 50 years, and enjoyed being a dedicated manager of football pools (and deliverer of winnings).
Tom married Jill Granfors on May 7, 1960. They moved into their home on 3rd Street nearly 50 years ago and, as Tom liked to say, have been remodeling it ever since. While building their home they built a family, one daughter at a time.
Tom loved fishing on the Brule with Ock and Brother Paul, camping at Lake Owen, making - and drinking - wine with Dale. He was prolific at finding and picking wild blueberries (now everyone else has a fighting chance at getting some). He was an animal whisperer, and a patient teacher of everything from driving to fire-building to skiing without poles so we could learn balance. He was a constant presence at grandchildren's games, and throughout his life, he was his daughters' and grandkids' biggest fan. He always had the time, he always offered support and encouragement, and he was always there.
He loved to be outside, especially on the land that meant the world to him, the Farm. He was so happy cutting, splitting and hauling wood; and snowshoeing and cross country skiing - no matter how deep the snow, he'd break the trail for us all to follow. And he was, above all, a gardener. He approached his gardens the way he approached life, with patience, hard work and a sense of humor (always speaking to the seeds and plants so they "know you care.")
Tom could see the positive in absolutely everything. When he heard his terminal diagnosis of ALS, he said he was lucky, because some people get the diagnosis in their 40s.
Tom Arnson was kindness, humor, joy and generosity. He was sparkly blue eyes and a big smile under a polka-dot cap. He was deeply loved and will be forever missed.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters Mary Ellen and Audrey.
He is survived by his wife Jill, five daughters: Heidi Arnson (Lisa Wolfert) of Minneapolis, MN Gwen Harmon (John) of Tomahawk, WI Betsy Arnson (Dan Mick) of Washburn, WI Peggy Arnson (David Olson) of Minneapolis, and Dena Arnson (Glenn Peavey) of Washburn; five grandchildren, Tyler, Katie, Sophie, Jessie and Isla, and two step grandchildren, Aaron and Taylor; two brothers: Paul Arnson, Larry (Gloria) Arnson, one sister, Kathleen (Rich) Knudson; nieces and nephews and extended family, and many wonderful friends.
Tom's family would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Garza at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Gang, the Regional Hospice nurses, the VA, and the ALS Association for their help and support that allowed Tom's family to care for him in his home until his death. We were able to honor his wishes because of you.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 at the Messiah Lutheran Church, 231 W. 5th Street in Washburn, WI Pastor Nancy Hanson officiating. Visitation will begin at 1 pm. at the church, and continue until the time of the service. Arrangements are by the Bratley Funeral Home of Washburn. To view this obituary online, sign the guestbook or express online condolences, please visit www.bratleyfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
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