Marlene, family, friends, for those that do not know me, I am Greg Arneson, the oldest of six children raised by my Father, Richard Arneson. We are all here to honor and celebrate his life that has ended too soon.
Dad, you were born in 1933 on December 18th. The world was deep into the great depression and at the very beginning of WWII. You were the 5th of 6th children born to Grandma and Grandpa, and the rigors of that period forged the personalities of George, Bob, Helen, Marian, you, and Dorothy for life.
It is said that the only advantage to being grown up is that you get to choose when to act like a child. You kept the ability to bring out the child in you all your life, despite the fact that you are a serious personality. Our 1st memories are filled with days with you, where we quickly learned how to get things we wanted, Ice Cream, berries, time on the hammock, and of course, games. Snowball fights and wrestling in the front yard, Sunday Dinners, sitting outside talking with the relatives that were a constant at the house. Recently it was reported that you were almost crying with laughter in the midst of a frenetic water balloon fight at Deborah and Sonny’s.
Dad, you are tough. I was always afraid to lose you, which is why I would hide in the back of your car until you got to work. When you left for the Army, when I saw you being loaded into an ambulance on the TV news in the 60’s after crossing parachutes with another reservist, Crossing the union picket lines in St. Louis, and finding a career in Saudi, yes, you are very tough. Just a few years ago we went rafting, sure enough, you got thrown into the water with your life vest, and you don’t swim. As you floated up to the surface face down, I thought you were a goner. But you raised your head and were OK, and I knew you were still tough (Marlene too!)
You are humble Dad, if you are hearing this eulogy is likely making you squirm as we speak.
You are a student of the world and a philosopher. Our discussions about war, peace, history, and our country are going to be sorely missed. You’re taking the time to cut out articles and mailing them to me, emails, and calls in the morning while walking your boys will be impossible to replace. I loved our trip to France, Diner at the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower at Sunset overlooking Paris, the WWII site tours in Normandy, and going to Napa for Tristan’s wedding among the thousands of things you and Mar did with all of us.
Intelligence and success: Dad, when I was born when you were 17 years old and bagging groceries. By the time I was 16 you were in St. Louis as a top executive. Once I hit 28 you had pushed through several setback’s, left the country, and become an international jet setter, the boss, managing a large multi-faceted business in Saudi, where both your peers and subordinates loved and respected you. Provably you trained yourself to the level of an MBA! You talent, perceptions, discipline, and work ethic produced stunning results for you, Marlene, your employers, and you employees. And thanks taking a limo to my house in IL for my birthday, when in town for the International Food Show, and bringing along your managers who sang happy birthday to me in 7 languages. The next day our neighbors came over to Pennie and stated “I thought Greg was white”.
But most of all Dad, you are giving and kind. You and your siblings rebuilt Grandma and Grandpa’s house, sealing the air leaks, a new basement, and teaching all of us how to give back. You met Marlene, and two of formed a family of 8. You shared your life with all of us all the time. You have helped everyone you touched, both family and friends, including you and Mar buying the Duplex for my college years in Rolla Mo, thank you! You entertained the troops in Saudi, and took care of stray animals, making you Pennies hero. You and Marlene took our boys and all of the grandchildren to many places.
A word about last Saturday Dad: I am speculating that when you realized that this event was happening, time would have slowed down, and the thoughts that went through your mind were not about you, but rather: Who is going to take care of Marleen, who is going to take care of my sisters, who is going to take care of my family and friends, who is going to take care of Cal and Cody, because that is who you are!
When your final dive is made and your battery's running low
You'll know there lies a boat for you many fathoms here below
It's when you get to wondering, "is my life boat rigged for dive?"
You're guessing drill commences, "am I dead or still alive?"
Your pace the flooded decks with scorn and curse the flaws of man
To live your life as sailors must at the bottom of the sea
There's one you'll have to reckon-that one, my friend is thee
Will your conscience do you justice when the final muster's in?
Did you lead the kind of life you should in every port you've been?
Now's the time to flood your tanks and trim up fore and aft
It's a trifle late when the klaxon sounds to square away your craft
Your final billet lies below on old oceans floor
So be ready when that last words passed
Sailor, rest your oar
Pennie has setup a Virtual Memorial on the Web for Dad which is paid for, please contact her to get the web address as we would love to have all of you add pictures, comments, and content. Thank you all for allowing me to honor a great Man, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend, and my Dad, Richard Arlen Arneson.