5/20/1927 ~ 1/9/2020
Well, we’ve done it. We finally discovered how long an Arnoldson can truly live. Our track record wasn’t very spectacular until now. At age 92, Elliot outlived his mother and wife by three years, eighteen years longer than his sister, one son by 40 years, his father by 61 years, and his brother by 86 years. All with his staple diet of mutton and gravy.
Elliot Julius Arnoldson escaped the shackles of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on the morning of January 9, 2020 in Centerfield, Utah after sustaining injuries from a fall a month prior. He was born in Moroni, Utah sometime between May 20th and May 24th in 1927 to Elyoung and Henrietta Christensen Arnoldson. Records were not meticulously kept in those days so no one was certain exactly which day he was born. Tragedy struck early in his life when his six-year-old brother died of diphtheria when Elliot was only four years old and his father died just two years later. Despite tremendous losses and under the grip of the Great Depression he grew up happily pulling pranks and farming under the tutelage of his bachelor uncles, mother, and stepfather, Clark Cloward. Within days of graduation form Moroni High School; Elliot was drafted into the army and served in the Philippines during the final months of World War II. He remained there as part of the occupational forces but was able to come home once on furlough. While attending a dance in Ephraim, he was introduced to a cute little filly named LaRane Bjerregaard. He and LaRane wrote letters to each other during the remainder of his military service and were married upon his return on July 16, 1947. They made their first home on the farm where Elliot attended Snow College and their only daughter, Rinda, was born. The young family soon moved to Preston, Idaho where Elliot taught school and attended The Agricultural College of Utah (Utah State University). He became the first in his family to earn a college degree- but far from the last. They also welcomed their first son, Gary, before moving back to Sanpete. Elliot farmed, taught school, and added a third child, Clair, to their growing brood. The next move took them to Seattle, Washington where Elliot continued his studies and child number four, Layne, joined the family. Their next move took them from the verdant green slopes of Seattle to the grey sagebrush flats of Milford, Utah where Elliot was the principal of the elementary school for two years. Their nomadic lifestyle came to an end with a move back to their beloved Sanpete Valley where he and LaRane rounded out their family with the arrivals of Earl then Wesley.
Elliot worked in educational administration with the North Sanpete School District adding up a total of 38 years in service to students. He was a city councilman and served two terms as mayor of Moroni in the 1970s accomplishing many improvements that are still visible today. Elliot owned a restaurant and campground in Hanksville, Utah for 43 years which was a loved hobby for him and the bane of existence for the rest of the family. He was a lifelong and proud Democrat who believed that the purpose of government is to serve its citizens and he acted accordingly.
Elliot was an avid hunter and fisherman who counted among his favorite memories those in which he was able to be outdoors with family and friends. He was a good natured and gregarious gentleman who loved being around people. He was generous up to the point he would give you the shirt off his back except he was too modest to be seen without a shirt. He had an unparalleled work ethic. To him, Labor Day simply meant you labored more on that day. He instilled in his children and grandchildren the strong value of an education- likely his greatest legacy.
Those missing him most are his grateful children: daughter Rinda (John), sons Gary (Leslie), Clair (deceased), Layne (Sheri), Earl (Christine), Wesley (Ellen), and daughter-in-law and son-in-law JoAnn and Allan Nielsen. He is preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, LaRane, son Clair, great-grandson Danny, sister Maxine, brother Sherwin, and his parents.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rasmussen Mortuary, 96 N. 100 W., Mt. Pleasant. Funeral services will be held Thursday, January 16, 2020 in the Moroni Stake Center at 11:00 with a viewing from 9:30 to 10:30. Interment will be in the Moroni City Cemetery. The family would like to thank the dedicated professionals at Country Lane Assisted Living Center and Centerfield Community Rehabilitation Center. Their compassionate service to Elliot and his family did not go without notice.