November 5, 1940 – January 21, 2020
We are here today to celebrate the life of Marvin Arnold.
Marvin was born November 5, 1940 in Loon Lake, SK. His parents, Tom and Clara Arnold, had 17 children and Marvin was the youngest. They lived on a farm in the Whelan area. When Marvin was 12, his parents bought a mink ranch at Flotten Lake from his older brother Leonard. His dad worked away so his mom ran the mink ranch. Marvin’s job was to check the fish nets before the bus picked him up for school in Dorintosh, SK. The two hired men ground the fish and fed the mink.
When Marvin was a young teen, he and his friend, Billy Hainey took some horseshoes off the shed wall of their neighbour Jack Murray. Jack was a tough old bushman. They threw all of them in the Flotten River. Jack came home, noticed them missing and went and found the boys. He made them go in the river and fetch them out. It was April and cold. He sat in a chair with his 30-30 across his knees. When, hours later, they retrieved all eight horseshoes, he let them out of the water. As they were putting their clothes back on, Jack fired his rifle at a floating twig and said, “Lucky for you, if you wouldn’t have found them… that would have been you.” It scared Marvin and he never took anything from Jack again. This adventure did not deter him from playing horseshoes all through his life.
In 1960 at the age of 20, Marvin met Norma at a dance. After the dance he complained about a sore back and somehow got Norma to rub liniment on it. This sealed the deal and they were married the same year. They continued to enjoy dancing for many years and later Marvin taught oldtime dancing.
During this time of his life, he worked on mink ranches and driving truck for Art Porter. They had a son Monty, he only lived three hours. That was tough on them. Wendy was born in 1965. She resides at a home in Portage La Prairie. Wanda, Waneta and Wynette (Chopper, Chicken and Bums) came along and completed their family.
In 1972, Marvin landed a job at the Sawmill, that is where I met him and he became my life-long friend. He loved trapping and hunting, so we became friends fast and he asked me to trap with him. We worked the same shift, so it worked out well. The trapping partnership started then, lasting on and off for 40 years, ending when his lungs could no longer handle the cold. I couldn’t count the number of coyotes and wolves we caught. There were many.
We would get to our destination, split up and each set traps and snares, then meet back at the truck. One time at Roger Zuchotzki’s setting and checking snares, I got back to the truck first and waited for Marvin to return. It seemed too long, but then I saw him coming, limping, carrying a large lynx over his shoulder. Apparently, when he was walking up to his wolf snare, he couldn’t find one, he stepped on a lynx that was caught by the leg. The lynx had grabbed on to his foot and wouldn’t let go. It took Marvin a while to shake him off. In the truck I took off his moccasin rubber and wool sock and started laughing. The lynx teeth marks were top and bottom of his foot. It was sore for quite awhile after. Marvin always said we should write a book about all the things that happen in the bush. It’s been said more than once, he could set a trap on the road and catch. He was that good of a trapper.
In 1972 he also started a fastball team called the Meadow Lake Sawmill Wolves. His brothers-in-law, Norman and David, pitched. Friends Don Coupland and Neil Grigo also played on this team. We had lots of fun and Marvin was one of the best players I have ever seen. Years later we played slow-pitch and were called the D&L Warriors. Marvin’s nephews, Rick and Kevin, also played on that team. Marvin’s girls all played ball with him at one time or another. They still talk about how much fun it was. Our son Derrick started out as batboy and later also played.
Marvin loved hunting ducks, geese, moose and the favourite was elk. It was challenging and lots of fun. September was a great month to be out. We had much success and he taught me a lot about the bush, which I am grateful for. Charlie Lasas from Waterhen told him, if you want to call an elk, use a mad bull call. So Marvin would blow his call really hard. Because he had false teeth, they would vibrate and sometimes he would even blow them out. So he would set them on a stump while calling. In an hour or two, we would leave and in the excitement forget his teeth. Several times we had to backtrack and find them. A couple of times we never found them and he would have to buy new ones. Knowing Norma would be pissed at him he told her a raven came and stole them off the stump. I’m sure that only worked once. If you are ever in the bush and see an elk smiling at you with Marvin’s teeth, you will think of him. Norman, Robert, Richard, Leonard and Neil also hunted moose and elk with Marvin many times.
After the sawmill, Marvin worked at Indian Affairs and then Meadow Lake Housing Authority. Marvin was good at yard maintenance and repairing things. He took interest in the residents at the Villa and they loved talking to him. The summer students all wanted to work with him because he was fun to be around. Marvin did many things and was good at all of them. He bowled in a league and almost got a perfect game, missing striking out in the last frame. He belonged to the 400 club. He and his mother-in-law, Viola, will probably throw a few balls down the alley in heaven.
Marvin also umpired for ball tournaments around the area and north. He and Norma would take the camper and be gone for the weekend. He made extra money and got to spend time with his wife. The people from the North always called him Mervin. We chuckled about that.
On occasion he curled at the Critter Spiel in Dorintosh. He brought home 2 pot bellied pigs for Wanda and a couple goats for Waneta. He thought they were great prizes, but they caused the girls a lot of grief. Wanda said the pigs were out of the pen more than in it and she got rid of them.
He liked playing cards. Kaiser was a favourite. Also a good pool player and was still playing pool at the Seniors Activity Centre.
At hockey games he was the Stampeders biggest fan. He was hated and loved at the same time with his loud outbursts, but the team loved him.
Marvin was also a good gardener. In later years he had a large garden at Cecile Jarrett’s. He also did her yard work. Val admired his gardening skills. He always gave us potatoes and vegetables. I’m sure many people benefited from this garden too.
Marvin had many health problems. I couldn’t believe how tough he was. Many people would have given up, but he plugged on.
One of the highlights of Marvin’s life was the camping trips to Flotten every year. He loved fishing, but most of all he loved being with his family. They camped there the first two weeks of July and whoever could make it, came. The girls, grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoyed it as much as him. This event went on for years and years and they will all treasure it forever.
Marvin loved his wife Norma. She was everything to him. He always called her Love or Lovey. He adored his girls and they were the pride of his life and they loved him deeply. Marvin liked to do things with them and all of his grandchildren were very special to him. The feeling was mutual, they loved him back.
Marvin loved people and he loved life. He lived it to the fullest. He always said he was a lucky man. He joked and laughed with everyone and was a good storyteller. Although many of them were not true, he told them with excitement and detail. He had a great sense of humour and would laugh till he cried when something was extremely funny.
This week I have heard people say he was a good man, a nice man, a great man. Yes he was, he was all of these and much more. I think the biggest part of his legacy left behind is the unconditional love he had for his family, firstly Norma, the girls and all his grandchildren and great grandchildren and his love for people in general.
Marvin was active in the Lutheran Church and on council. He talked to me about God often. I know where he is. He joked about what colour of wolves he would have for pets up there and what it would be like in heaven.
Marvin was my mentor. He taught me how to play ball, throw horseshoes, trap, hunt and so much more.
I will miss you my friend. Thanks for the memories.
Written by: Barry Brucks
Read by: Derrick Brucks
Grandpa used to tell me that before we are even born, God has already decided and planned our entire lives; our family, every trial and tribulation, every person we meet and what they bring to our lives. For better or for worse, every choice is pre-made and with that a lesson and a memory. “Everything happens for a reason, Sweetheart, just trust this is part of the plan.” When God planned this man’s life he made him strong to withstand all the loss he would suffer in his life and there has been a great deal of loss in his life. He made him resilient so he would bend but not break and fight to persevere all that tried to break him. He gave him an endless amount of love for him to share. God made him the best friend, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and for us the best husband, father (father-in-law) and Grandpa he could. He loved his family, from the immediate to the greats and the great greats, and he was loved and cherished in return. I could go on and on about the people in his life that he brought into ours and about the extension of “family” he gave us because of who he was. What they say has never been truer about any one man… that you can measure the man by the people that surround him, because he was surrounded by the most incredible people.
The man that we are all here to send off, to pay our respects to, to mourn and grieve over had been placed in each and every one of our lives with purpose, by no mistake and by some sort of great divine. He had a way of making every person he knew and met feel more like a lifelong friend or family more than any other person I have ever known in my life. Looking out over this room is a testament to exactly that. His family comes from near and far and does not discriminate.
Even though you have all been blessed to have him in your lives, we are the most fortunate. They write poems and tell stories about husbands, fathers and grandpas that depict the best features of those roles but nowadays those are just fairy tales and writings in Hallmark cards and the real deal is hard to come by.
This man, in my eyes, was not shadowed by bias or delusion. He was all my sister and I got to call Grandpa and he did not disappoint. He wasn’t just ours though, he was theirs too, eight of us in total and eight of us who he loved with a fierce tenacity. Every one of us has something instilled in us that makes us who we are, makes us better, makes us stronger. Not only that, he was our Mother’s father. They raised us with the love and qualities he instilled in them and because of him we each were given the most insatiable, determined, independent, undefeatable, resilient women to call our Moms, and our Aunties. He raised our family to be just that and to always be THAT. We cousins are more like siblings with three moms because that’s how we function, as a whole. He was the foundation of his masterpiece.
I have so many memories with my Grandpa, many of them shared with Darcy and Ash, and just as many of us with the whole family. Memories of Darcy, Ashley and I all sandwiched in Grandpa’s red and white Dodge, flying through the hills on our way to Flotten, riding the rollercoaster. Squealing for him to go “faster Grandpa, faster” each with a chunk of kubasa in our fists, waiting for that first break in the trees that you could see the lake from, excited every time like it was the first. Still with the flutter in our bellies from the truck falling down each hill we would cross the bridge and he would tell us each time, this is where he grew up, this was his favourite place, pointing to where Pete lived, and where he trapped over there. “Our house wisas over there” he would say (pointing through the trees to where remnants of the old house still stood) before either turning left into the campgrounds or pulling off right where we would each get an ice cream pail with a ‘x’ cut in the lid so we could catch frogs for baiting our hooks. That particular memory is one I can count dozen of times, each time with the space between us girls getting a little tighter every time as we grew. We did everything with him, camping and fishing (quick trip to bird island), ball tournaments, bowling, gardening, building, meeting people and seeing places, dancing, family reunions, playing cards or crib, horseshoes and bocce ball or a full day of yahtzee… the list is endless.
But I have one memory that is just mine, that he and I shared, the time he saved the world from the Flotten Lake tarantula. One fall, when I was still quite little, 5 or 6 I would say, he and I drove up to the lake just one more time before I started school. The campgrounds were empty and it felt like it was just ours. We walked all over that day, up the hill, from one end of the sites and back, we wandered the beach… that day as I had a hundred times already in my life, I went to drink out of the pitcher pump at the lakeside. If you pumped it three or four times you could get around to the other side and drink from the pump but this time there was a web… a very large web and it is not a secret that I have a very irrational fear of spiders, but Grandpa encouraged me to ignore it and use the pump anyway. I stood on the platform ready to pump the pump for the first time when the largest spider I had ever seen in my life at that point came out to claim its catch in the web. I screamed a blood curdling scream and Grandpa came running. Thinking I was being dramatic he was just going to squish it for me, but when he saw it he swore and told me to get away from it. It was also the largest spider he had ever seen and there was no way we were squishing it for one reason or another but there was no way he was gonna let it stay there because there would be more next year if he didn’t do something about it. He went back to his truck and got the margarine container that our road trip snacks were packed in so he could catch it. He was going to take it to someone to see what kind of spider it was. Well, there was no way I was getting in the truck with that thing, in the box or not. He decided the best course of action then was to drown it and keep the specimen and I could live with that… I remember squatting next to him at the water’s edge trying to drown this ginormous spider. The whole time he was assuring me that he would never let anything hurt me. “Sweetheart, I will find every spider around here and drown every one so you don’t have to be afraid. You never have to be afraid.” For the rest of my life that is exactly what he did and will do for me. He will always be my hero, the conqueror of my fears and the man who gave me the courage and spirit to survive anything. He has done that more than he probably ever knew.
Not only just me, he did that in some way for all of us, gave each one of us the skills we needed to survive whatever has been dealt to us and support what we needed to do it. Never did he ever forget to tell us how he felt and to remind us how proud of us he was.
The three of us girls got a few good years in before the boys came along. Even though Grandpa did just fine with us girls (he had plenty of practice thanks to our Moms), he was over the moon when Brady and Ashton were born! Little boys for him to teach to hunt and trap. Eventually he would have tried with us but we were more in the business of saving the animals he was hunting and trapping. As they grew Grandpa started grooming them.
Brady inherited Grandpa’s fishing holes and his love of baseball. Almost as soon as he could walk we would find Brady at sunrise in a dingy, out in the reeds at Flotten “fishing”. Grandpa would be standing on the beach yelling, scared out of his mind that Brady was out there alone, but also a lot proud that someone finally appreciated the 5 am rule as much as he did.
Ashton inherited all things hunting and trapping. He probably had it worse than any of us, because this was Grandpa’s greatest passion outside his family. The responsibility was grand and he did the best of all required of an assistant. And then there was Tisheena, the girl who could run with the boys but was still soft enough for him to hold, to carry on the tradition of his woollies and rubbers and the one he knew he could count on to make sure a trap was never left unset.
As the retired life settled in the last few years, he enjoyed coffee row. Teisha was Grandpa’s favourite part of those mornings. He was so proud of how hard she worked and so thrilled to show her off to all his friends. She was a constant in his mornings, of hugs and the one checking in on him the last few months.
There was very little left unsaid in our family, never a lack of “I love you’s” or expressions of gratitude we all have for having each other in our lives. Right down to the last night before he passed, he still reminded his girls that he loved them. Leaving him that night, the words he left in his girl’s minds was, “Come over here Lovey, so I can hold your hand.” Grandpa loved our Grandma, leaving us with hearts full of compassion.
Thank you Grandpa, for the memories, the lessons, the unconditional love, the laughs, the minty, tocacoee hugs, the peppermints, for yelling the loudest at every hockey game, for cheering the loudest, for always being in our corner, for loving our babies just like you loved us and for sharing as many lessons with them as you possibly could.
Save us a dance.
Between now and then until I see you again, I’ll be loving you! Love me.
Written by: Danielle Adrian
From: Darcy, Ashley, Brady,
Ashton, Teisha, Tisheena
Card of Thanks
We would like to thank all of Dad’s friends and family who came to celebrate, sent flowers, messages, made donations and to share in his final farewell. It was truly a celebration he would have Loved. He’d have been so proud of HIS precious grandchildren, of the altar display, the heartfelt eulogy and the fantastic slide show. Thanks Danielle, Darcy, Ashley, Brady, Ashton, Teisha, and Tisheena. – Great Job – Special thanks to our “Family” Barry & Val, Derrick & Marcy Brucks who always go above and beyond. Barry you wrote a wonderful eulogy and Derrick, you delivered it perfectly. Val what didn’t you do, from feeding us, to help with arrangements, paperwork and just being you. Barry, I could hear Dad saying, “Thanks Partner”. Morris, thank you for your words of fondness and kindness. Dad would have been over the moon with Brian and Ben Gallagher’s music. Thank you so VERY much. Pastor Wendall and Flo Campbell, thank you for the service. ELW Ladies we are eternally grateful for the beautiful lunch and all the compassion you showed Mom and our family. Vince and Myles, your dedication to honour Dad was evident, you did a great job organizing everyone – Thank you. Barb and Dwayne Mysko, thank you for taking something so overwhelming and making it tolerable. You are both so compassionate, professional and kind. Barb and Mrs. Vidal, thank you for the wonderful music. To all the staff at the hospital and lodge for the care you have given both to Dad and Mom, we cannot begin to express our thanks. You are a rare breed of professionals and are usually overlooked, but Dad loved you all. Lastly I would personally like to thank my Dad because of who he was, this group of people embraced our family and for that we are truly THANKFUL.
Norma & Wanda, Waneta, Wynette