Alfred W. Arendt, 99, a pioneer farmer and railroader, died at a Havre care center on April 16, 2003, one week before his 100th birthday.
A vigil will be on Friday at 7 p.m. at the St. Jude's Catholic Church. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. Jude's Catholic Church, followed by a burial in the
Calvary Cemetery. A fellowship luncheon in the church's social hall will follow the burial.
Alfred was born in Wimbledon, N.D., to Peter and Elizabeth (Jonas) Arendt on April 23, 1903. The family homesteaded near Eastend, Saskatchewan, in 1914. At the age of 11, he and his 18-year-old brother, Eugene, wintered-over there and built up a foothold before the rest of the family came up from North Dakota in 1915.
The Arendts worked Percheron horses and ran a steam-powered threshing outfit manned by a score of hired hands. In the Depression, Alfred found a variety of short-term jobs. He was a cook on a Saskatchewan paleontology expedition, a hotel storekeeper in Chicago, an apple picker in Washington State, and a grain custom-cutter ranging from Texas to Canada. Between stints farming in the 1940s, he was a Saskatchewan wheat pool operator and a station agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Alberta.
Alfred married Ethel Ledingham in Eastend, Saskatchewan, on Aug. 3, 1941. They moved to Havre in 1950 to farm for Clair Dow north of town. He began work with the Great Northern Railway in 1952 and worked in the Havre car shops until retiring in 1973. He built the A&W Rootbeer stand in Chinook in 1961, and he and Ethel operated that business during the summers through 1964.
Active in the Havre community for more than 50 years, Alfred was a parishioner of St. Jude's Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He served on the board of directors of the Great Northern Credit Union and participated in a variety of civic affairs, ranging from civil defense and Havre's Give-Away shop for the needy to efforts promoting universal health insurance. In 1984, Alfred was a founder of the Seniors Citizens Band, where he played drums for many years.
In retirement, Alfred taught Ethel to play pool and they could often be found chalking up at the senior citizens center. Over four decades, the couple's annual trips ranged from coast to coast visiting their children and other relatives. They moved into the Eagles Manor in 1999. Alfred won a circle of friends among the West Wing team of the Northern Montana Care Center who cared for him like family since April 2002.
Alfred was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Eugene, Roy, Sylvester, Louis and Raymond; sisters, Laura Gore, Julia Hose, Elizabeth McKenty and Josephine Arendt; and daughter-in-law, Diana Arendt.
Survivors include his wife, Ethel Arendt of Havre; daughter, Mary Lynn (Dan) Kuka of Havre; sons, Bryce Arendt of Havre and Curtis Arendt of Butte; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Jude's Catholic Church are suggested.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home in Chinook.