Ralph Arneson

Ralph Arneson, age 96, of Decorah passed away Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah. At Ralph’s request, a private family service will be held at a later date. Burial will be in the Big Canoe Cemetery with full military rites. Memorials can be sent to Linda at 320 Lakeshore Drive, Nashua, IA 50658.

Ralph Eugene Arneson was born August 14, 1925 to Martin and Nora (Grindeland) Arneson in Pleasant Township, rural Winneshiek County. He was baptized and confirmed at Big Canoe Lutheran Church. Ralph attended the Sattre Country School No. 8 through eighth grade and graduated from Decorah High School with the Class of 1943.

Ralph then served in the Army infantry from 1943-1946. He was sent to Camp Roberts in California for his training. Ralph was then shipped to New Guinea and later onto Morotai Island in the East Indies. From there he went to Leyte Island in the Philippines where he was wounded December 17, 1944. He was in a hospital in New Guinea for three months where he was awarded the Purple Heart and then was put on a hospital ship headed for Tacoma, WA. After a short time, Ralph was transferred to the military hospital in Topeka, KS. Ralph finished out his time in the military by serving as a military policeman at

Fort Des Moines. He was honorably discharged at Jefferson Barracks, MO in January of 1946.

After his military service, he worked on the family farm while going to a GI school for agriculture in Mabel, MN. Ralph was honored to be chosen to participate in the Freedom Honor bus trip to Washington, DC.  They thoroughly enjoyed the weeklong trip and all of the sites they saw in DC.  He was also privileged to receive the Quilt of Valor later in life.

Ralph was united in marriage to Shirley Albertson August 15, 1949 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. They were blessed with one daughter, Linda.  Ralph and his wife, Shirley, farmed in Allamakee County (Hanover Township) for 44 years. Their farm was along the Upper Iowa River, so fishing was a favorite pastime along with the occasional trail ride. When company came, they would throw horse shoes or play pool.

After selling their farm in 1990, they moved to North Mill Street in Decorah.  Ralph then started playing shuffleboard with friends at the Armory. He also became a volunteer for the Winneshiek County Hospital’s Garden Club. Before breakfast every day, Ralph would ride his stationary bike for five miles to stay in shape.

In 2017, Ralph moved to Barthell Eastern Star Assisted Living. He was out and about until COVID hit in 2020. Then he looked forward to his mail, especially the cards from his family and friends. The great-grandchildren drew and colored lots of pictures for him.

Ralph was a member of the Big Canoe Lutheran Church where he served on the council for several years. He belonged to the American Legion, VFW and DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and Farm Bureau. Ralph enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing shuffleboard.

Ralph is survived by his daughter, Linda (Bruce) Becker of Nashua; two granddaughters, Amy (Adam) Streeter of Ankeny and Dana (Dylan) Frerichs of Greene; five great-grandchildren, Rowen, Kentlee and Karsyn Streeter, and Case and Boe Frerichs; and his sisters-in-law: Bernice Arneson and Margaret Arneson, both of Decorah.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley (Albertson) Arneson; his parents, Martin and Nora Arneson; his sister, Kathryn (Jerome) Kroshus; his brothers, Norman, Paul and Stanley Arneson; his nephew, Kavin Kroshus; and his niece, Martha Graves.