James L. Arndt, 73
Cedar Ridge, Calif. — James L. Arndt passed away on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, after a hard fought battle with cancer. In his last few days, Jim was surrounded by his four children (Patty, Debbie, Dave and Robin) in the comfort of his own home in Cedar Ridge, Calif. It was a humble and dignified end for a man who was simply known as “Jim,” “Dad,” or “Pa” to those who will now take comfort in knowing he will finally be reunited with his beloved wife, Alice, who left this world more than 10 years ago.
Born Oct. 18, 1936, in Blue Earth, Jim grew up with two brothers (Gene and Don) and two sisters (Lila and Dorothy). Those economic times were difficult but they were encouraged by their mother to make the best of every situation, even when they had to drop out of school to work and earn extra income for the family. When each of the Arndt brothers entered a different branch of the armed forces, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17. Though he never saw combat or served overseas, he was dedicated to his Military Police service until his medical discharge in September of 1956.
Often regarded as a gruff, no-nonsense individual, Jim was actually warm, caring and lighthearted, who frequently joked with his family and friends. He adored his late wife, Alice (Robinson), and his eyes lit up when he would tell the story of how the two met while he was stationed in Nevada. Fifty years later, he could still recall the special feeling he had when he first saw her and how he knew that she was “The One.”
With young daughters, the couple moved from Fallon, Nev., to San Jose, Calif., and then settled in Santa Clara, where Jim entered the construction business with his brother, Don, and eventually started his own excavating operation. For 35 years, Arndt’s Backhoe Service was a widely respected name in the field and helped support his growing family of six. Alice chose to retire Jim in 1994 (when they moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills) to spend their retirement days panning for gold or just sitting and talking on their front porch.
Jim always encouraged younger family members to set lofty goals and manage their money to save for the future. He frequently reflected on his upbringing, the value of hard work and thrifty living. Jim will be greatly missed by those that knew him, but he is finally at peace and with the woman who enriched his time on earth.
Jim loved spending time with his family and friends, joking and sharing stories. He leaves behind his four loving children; eight doting grandchildren; nine caring great-grandchildren; two special great-great-grandchildren; and three siblings, Lila (Arndt) Gossman, of Buffalo Center, Iowa, Don Arndt and Dorothy Arndt, both of California, and their extended families.
Preceded in death by his wife, Alice; brothers, Gene and an infant brother, Eugene; along with parents, Glen and Verna (Frybarger) Arndt, Jim is also survived by many, many caring family members, friends and neighbors who will miss him greatly!
Jim will be laid to rest with his wife at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. Per his wishes, there will be no funeral services. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, any donations be made in Jim’s name to the American Cancer Society, but words of support and sympathy can be sent to P.O. Box 1642, Cedar Ridge, CA 95924.