Arlen Edward Soderstrom, of Mora, died on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at St. Clare Living Community in Mora. He was 91 years old.
He was born on Aug. 9, 1929 to Edward and Mildred (Ostrom) Soderstrom. He was the oldest of five children. As a child, he walked just a half mile across the swamp to the Quamba school. He was a hard worker and enjoyed working his grandfather’s farm with his uncle, Fritz. After graduating from Mora High School in 1947, he went right to work learning to be a carpenter with his uncle, Elwood. He most enjoyed making cabinets, but would often step in to help create beautiful fieldstone fireplaces with his dad and brothers.
He met Gloria Renstrom in high school and following graduation he won her heart, though he followed his future mother-in-law’s request and waited until she finished nurses training to marry her. On Dec. 16, 1950 they were united in marriage. The couple welcomed their only child, a daughter, Lynell, in 1951. He was completely smitten. He worked hard but always had time for his “Punky.”
His faith came first. He was raised in the Swedish Baptist Church in Quamba when they only spoke Swedish. He asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior at a young age and spent his entire life growing in that faith and serving in the church. He taught children Sunday school for 52 years and was a beloved teacher, mentor and friend to many as he genuinely shared his faith. He was known for his big smile and his stories. His kindness and silliness came out when he brought out his little finger-friend, “Oscar,” to visit. Children of all ages would giggle and enjoy the fun that he gifted to them.
He was an avid agate collector. On a Sunday afternoon you could find Arlen, Glory, Lynell, Bruce and Brian in a gravel pit or on a newly graveled road with their agate buckets. He enjoyed golfing, gardening, fishing and deer hunting, but the relationships with people is what he enjoyed most. He was a typical Swede in that he loved Lutefisk (especially when his wife made the delicious white sauce). She was his “right-hand gal” when they served Swedish pancakes at many large group gatherings. In his later years, he and his wife enjoyed bird watching and taking long car rides to look for deer and enjoy God’s creation. You’d often find them enjoying breakfast at Freddie’s and driving to Blaine to enjoy their friend, Carol’s, amazing cooking at the restaurant named after her.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Russ and Ron; brother-in-law, Lyle Berghuis; and sister-in-law, Ginny Soderstrom.
He will be deeply missed by his wife of nearly 70 years, Gloria; daughter, Lynell (Jerry) Lewey of Cambridge; only grandson, Jake Lewey; sister, Betty Berghuis of Milaca; brother, Merlin “Sod” (Ione) Soderstrom of Milaca; sister-in-law, Judy Soderstrom of Cambridge; special nephews, Bruce and Brian Anderson; many more nieces and nephews, other relatives, and a host of friends of all ages.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, at Quamba Baptist Church with a visitation one hour prior to the service. A special thank you to Pastor Ivan Fisk for his thoughtful friendship and to Arlen’s neighbors, Mark and Pauline Peterson and Ernie and Dolores Blaisdell for their extra special kindness and care. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Quamba Baptist Church Children’s Sunday School.