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Obituary for Arthur Vraa

Dad’s Obituary – written by John Vraa

Art Vraa was fat, mean and ugly, or at least that’s what he would say if you asked how he was. Art arrived at the party on June 26th, 1926, son of Sander and Ida Vraa, on the family farm south of Climax. During WWII with older brother Oscar Pete at war, and Sander’s health failing, 16 year old Art and younger brother Ivan kept the family farm running. When Pete returned, Art raised and sold chickens, eggs and strawberries, and mopped floors and even sold his blood to put himself through college. He graduated in 1950 from Concordia College in Moorhead with a degree in Biology and Education, and where he proudly played on the football team and sang in the choir.

Art was drafted for the Korean war, and served as a lab technician at Murphy Army Hospital in Massachusetts. He went on a blind date with an army nurse named Luella Gillin. She thought he was a drip but her heart melted when she saw Art’s gentle kindness while drawing blood from a frightened little girl. Art, the Norwegian Lutheran farm boy, and Lue, the Irish Catholic city girl, were married in 1951 and shipped out to Japan. Five kids followed: Mary Lue (Lue), David, John, Paul and Eric who all learned to sing “I See the Moon” gathered around Dad and his guitar.

Dad taught at Argyle, Hollister, CA, Kennedy, the Crookston A.C. and at Climax. After the Climax school burned down in 1954, he started the High School Football program with borrowed equipment and no money. His longest tenure was at Fisher as the High School Principal, and Assistant Football Coach, teaching Biology, Civil Defense, and Driver’s Ed. During the summers he farmed and ran sugarbeet youth crews for the Employment Office, back when sugarbeets were thinned and weeded with a hoe. We all helped him bale a lot of hay, too! After he retired, Dad drove school bus for Climax and fondly remembered all of the students who rode his bus.

Lue died in 1987, and in1989, Dad married Doris Hennings from Carrington. Dad said he was lucky to have had two great marriages in his lifetime – he couldn’t have had a better mother for his children, or a better retirement companion in Doris until she died in 2009.

While Dad lay dying we gathered around his hospital bed and Dave’s fiancé, Rocio, leaned in close, said a prayer, and kissed him on the forehead. Dad had not stirred for awhile, but instinct kicked in and with a deft turn and pucker of the lips he planted one on Rocio. You don’t get to be a 91 year old guy without learning important life lessons such as when a pretty girl kisses you, kiss her back!

When you met Dad, you were his friend. You would hear his silly songs and jokes, and his stories, like when he fell out of his deer stand and landed on the back of a big bull moose and rode it back to camp. He said you could steer it like a big Harley if you just leaned on the antlers.
When we were kids, Dad was the smartest guy who was friends with everybody and knew everybody’s name. We learned it was way better to have lots of friends than to have lots of stuff. During our teenage years, Dad got stupider and stupider, but as we matured, Dad grew smart again. Dad knew that we had all been specially invited to this party, and that alone should make us happy. We should make the most of our time here and when it’s time to go home, leave with thankfulness and grace, and don’t take things too seriously – Enjoy the party.

Dad said he had a good, long run, and was ready to go. We should count ourselves fortunate: We had Dad at the party for 91 years, but still, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Dad leaves behind a whole slew of inlaws and outlaws including: Brother Ivan, Sisters in law Barbara and Lee, kids and co: Mary Lue, Dave and Rocio and Cheri, John, Paul and Heather, Eric and Mary, Doris’s kids Jode Hennings, Fern Hennings and Paulette Leik, grandkids Erin and Mathew Tate, Zeb and Amanda Vraa, Bethany Vraa and Matthew Marshall, Paul McCormick, Alicia Wolf, and it sure seems like Sean Nichols should be in here, too. Great Grandkids Elizabeth and Cayleb Tate, and Ean and Maddison Vraa, nephews and nieces Tom Parks and family, Kevin, Keith, Karen and Mike Vraa and families, Kim and Collin Gillen and Bridget Smith and all their families, wonderful friends and neighbors Keith and Julie Dale,and lots more inlaws, outlaws and friends we’ve forgotten to mention. You know who you are. Art loved you all.

Please join us at 3pm on Saturday, July 22nd at the Climax Lutheran Church to remember Art.




Arthur 's Memorial Folder


Previous Events

Service

Saturday

22

Jul

3:00 PM
Climax Lutheran Church

Climax, MN

Visitation one hour prior to service

Cemetery Details

Location

Skatvold Cemetery

Rural Climax, MN

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