Arlie C. Blexrud, 85 of Hokah, and recently of SpringBrook Village in La Crescent, passed away on Thursday, November 9, 2023. He was born September 24, 1938, in Spring Grove, Minn., to Winton and Ella (Sollien) Blexrud and attended schools in Spring Grove.
Arlie proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy from 1957 until his honorable discharge in 1961. He served on board the USS Mississinewa AO-144 as a machinist’s mate, home ported in Naples, Italy. He was the recipient of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal after being deployed to the 1958 Lebanon Crisis.
He met the love of his life, Marilyn Rollins at a barn dance while on leave from the Navy. “It was love at first sight” – they married on September 12,1959, in Mabel, Minn. Marilyn passed away on March 14, 2023, after over 63 years of marriage.
Arlie was a master mechanic for 50 plus years working at various auto repair shops in the Tri-State area until eventually he and Marilyn, opened their own business, La Crescent Motors in 1975 in La Crescent until moving the business to Hokah in the early 1990s as Arlie’s Auto Sales for over 25 years, and he eventually worked for and retired from Hokah Co-op.
Arlie proudly served for 46 years as a volunteer firefighter/first responder for the Hokah Volunteer Fire Department and simultaneously served 12 years with the La Crescent Volunteer Fire Department during work hours when he operated La Cresent Motors. He was a past assistant fire chief for the Hokah department, following his days of responding to emergency calls, he acted as safety officer and maintenance supervisor.
Arlie was very passionate about volunteering his time as a driver for Houston County Veterans Services and Semcac, and as a member of the Houston County Historical Society. He was a dedicated blood donor, having donated gallons of blood to the American Red Cross over the years. He was a charter member of VFW Post 11542 in La Crescent, where he was proudly involved with distribution of the Buddy Poppy program prior to Memorial Day.
In 2013 he was named Hokah Citizen of the Year by the Lions Club International.
Dad was lovingly given the title “Admiral” where he was in command of the entire fleet/family overseeing the safety and wellbeing of his children and most importantly, his grandchildren.
Arlie was very proud of his Norwegian heritage, well known for his handsome looks, icy blue eyes, devilish smile, and witty sense of humor; reciting a joke or wisecrack was his specialty – he could put a smile on anyone’s face. He was a storyteller, entertainer, and performer, playing his guitar and singing along with his brother Winton for family and friends for much of his younger years; most will never forget listening and watching him sing and chuckle to his most requested song, the Laughing Polka.
Arlie is survived by his four children: Julie (Dennis) Rask of New Albin, Iowa, Rhonda (Paul) Myhre of Houston, Minn., and Rebecca (Rex) Duerwachter and Douglas (Margie) Blexrud, both of La Crescent; 14 grandchildren: Danica, Tyler, Jason, Jonathan, Erica, Justin, Anthony, Ryan, Nicolas, Kristine, Andrew, Alex, Zachary and Emily; 21 great-grandchildren: Taiya, Amaya, Devynn, William, Evan, Dominic, Jaxon, Camden, Graysen, Emersen, Ella, Eli, Finly, Alexandra, Sutton, Evalia, Aksel, Henrik, Ember, Nora, Soren, and another due any day; a sister, Barbara (Fruechte) Ferkingstad of Caledonia; a sister-in-law, Sharon (Donovan) Larson of Rochester, Minn.; a brother-in-law, Rodney (Diane) Rollins of Preston, Minn., and many loving nieces and nephews. In addition to his loving wife Marilyn, he was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Daniel A. Blexrud in 2005; a great-grandson, Levi Blexrud; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Winton (Harriet) Blexrud and Myles (Pat) Blexrud; two brothers-in-law, Gilbert Fruechte and Ed Ferkingstad and a sister-in-law, Pat Rollins.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. with visitation from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. prior to service on Saturday, November 18, at the La Crescent Area Event Center, 595 Veterans Parkway. A celebration of life will continue following the service at the event center until 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided during the duration of the event.
Arlie generously gifted his remains for the advancement of medical science and research to the University of Minnesota Anatomy Bequest program. A private family graveside service with military rights will be held at the Minnesota State Veterans cemetery, Preston, Minn., at a later date following the completion of studies at the University.
The family would like to express their appreciation and endless support provided to dad and family during this very difficult journey.
We deeply appreciate the incredibly kind compassionate care provided by the entire staff at SpringBrook Village, Suzy and the staff from Gundersen Hospice team and the Houston County Public Health Office.
Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crescent is assisting the family.