Arden Thomas, 69, died unexpectedly on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at Hospice of the Valley in Surprise, AZ.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at Grace Lutheran Church in Grygla, MN with Rev. Rena Peterson officiating. Casket bearers included David Moe, Tony Moe, Wally Sistad, Jon Tinnes, Kenny Thomas and Richard Mosher. Honorary casket bearers included all of Arden’s relatives and friends. Interment followed at Saint Olaf Cemetery in Grygla, MN.
Arden Leroy Thomas was born on July 5, 1942 on the family homestead in Benville Township, Beltrami County, MN, the son of Tom and Florence (Tollefson) Thomas. He attended school in Grygla, and graduated from Goodridge High School in 1960.
Following graduation, Arden had several jobs. He worked for a short time at the turkey plant in Thief River Falls, worked with his brother, Leland doing bridge construction; and worked for the state of Minnesota in the Forestry Division.
Among his many entrepreneurial ventures he owned the local cafe and was co-founder of a sporting goods store. Arden then became the Grygla City policeman; this job led Arden to become a Marshall County Deputy Sheriff, which he worked until his retirement in 1995.
As Deputy Sheriff in Grygla, Arden was very active and involved in the community. In this poisition, he became a mentor to troubled youths showing then a way to better their situation.
In about 1970, Arden with his brother, Leland bought a 32- acre farm, which they farmed small grains and raised beef cattle together for a number of years.
Arden was a man who enjoyed the outdoors; his many interests included hunting, summer and winter fishing, RVing, camping, happy hour, flea markets, auction sales, and junk collecting.
In 2001, Arden met Diane “Dee” Dohrn who was then living in Fargo, ND and in 2005 became his life-long partner. They spent their summers in Grygla and their winters in Arizona, where they enjoyed the comforts of their RV in the sunshine.
He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Grygla; the Turkey Federation and youth group; and was active in many other organizations.
Arden is survived by Dee Dohrn; brother, Leland (Thelma) Thomas of Grygla; sister, Margie (David) Steele of Minneapolis; sister-in-law, Karen Thomas; he was Papa to Giovanni Baker and as of November 11, 2011 Trevor Dohrn; several nieces, nephews, relatives and friends; and close friends, Tony, Connie, David, and Kim Moe.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers and sisters, Donald, Frank, Iola, Ruby, and Doris.
Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky