Richard “Dick” Arndt, 90, of Oelwein passed away Friday December 1, 2023 at Oelwein Healthcare Center. Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00 PM on Friday December 8, 2023 at the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home in Oelwein. Funeral services will begin at 11:00 AM on Saturday December 9, 2023 at the funeral home. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery at Oelwein. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Dick’s honor to the Oelwein Booster Club.
Richard George Arndt was born on June 2, 1933 in Evanston, IL to parents Edward and Eleanore (Ratcliffe) Arndt. He graduated from Evanston High School and then attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette, graduating with the class of 1958. On July 2, 1955 Dick was united in marriage with Janann “Jan” Lee Proctor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oelwein.
In 1955, Dick & Jan spent their honeymoon in Minocqua, WI. Outdoors with nature was where Dick loved to be. He had many fond memories as a child with his family in Minocqua, even working there through his teenage years.
In 1959, Dick and Jan moved to Riverside, California with their two daughters Debie and Julie. During his time there, Dick started his first professional position as a Lab Technician in the Entomology Research Department at the University of California-Riverside. Along with his mentor, Dr. Strong, Dick published a paper covering “Crossbreeding Studies with Seven Species of Trego Derma.” Dick and Jan also welcomed two more daughters, Lori and Kerry, during their time in California.
After three years on the west coast, the couple and their 4 daughters decided to come home to Oelwein, Iowa to raise their family. A fifth child, son Ted, was born and completed the family in 1964. In 1972 Dick and Jan purchased a small acreage, known to many as “Arndt’s Acres.” The Arndt children were kept busy with hog farming. Years later, Dick and Jan’s grandchildren ran the infamous “Arndt’s Acres Sweetcorn” stand. The children were always under the careful observation and teaching of grandpa. Dick also began his teaching and coaching career at Oelwein Community School District in 1962. In his 39 years at Oelwein, Dick devoted himself to changing and growing the minds of his students with science. He took part in coaching several sports including Jr. High football, High School girls basketball, girls track, and co-ed cross country. He loved every aspect of track and cross country, becoming an avid runner himself. Dick retired from teaching in 1994, but continued his passion with coaching until 2001. He led many student athletes to state tournaments over the years. It was a thrill for Dick to run into former students and athletes after retirement when he and Jan went out for supper in the community. He loved hearing, “Hey Mr. Arndt!”
Dick was a talented student athlete himself. In 1997, he was inducted into the Upper Iowa University Hall of Fame, a very prestigious honor for him. He was a three-sport athlete in his collegiate career. He competed in football, baseball, and track.
Remaining active in his community, Dick enjoyed helping with many events such as 4th of July runs and little league, to name a few. Dick also spent many years managing the Oelwein Swimming Pool.
Dick loved his family and friends and lived a life he was proud of. In the words of Frank Sinatra, he did it, “My Way!”
Left to celebrate Dick’s life are his children: Debie (Mike) Knickrehm of LeClaire, Julie (Brian) Sparks of Altoona, Lori Steciuk of Denison, Kerry (Kevin) Arnold of Johnson Creek, WI and Ted Arndt of Des Moines; 12 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; his sister Carol Reid Cole of Green Bay, WI; his sisters-in-law: Donis Frisch, Barb Arndt, Carol Proctor and Naomi Proctor; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Jan; his sisters: Eleanore Potratz and MaryAnn Munk; his brother Ted Arndt; and his infant granddaughter Lindsay Arnold.