March 4, 1928 – January 31, 2021
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our father Walter Arnason born March 4, 1928 in Wadena, Saskatchewan – he was the eldest child of Gunnlauger and Gudny Arnason who had recently immigrated from Iceland in 1927.
He is survived by his brother Oskar Arnason of Edmonton, Alberta, his youngest sibling Esther Verona of Vancouver Island, daughters Lois Diane Arnason residing in Montrose and Patti Ann Hamelin of Castlegar. He is predeceased by sisters Asdis and Signy and brothers Magnus and Jonas. Grandchildren Delaina Arnason, Leigha Hamelin-Evin, Troy Hamelin (Jennifer) and Megan Hutchinson were a blessing to him over the years and his great-grandchildren as well, Kierra Doherty, Haley Arnason, Tansie Arnason, Audrey Hall, Gabriel Hall of Fruitvale, Jasper Evin, Grayson Evin of Castlegar and Theo and Emmie Hamelin of Kelowna. Dad was blessed to have held baby Octavia Leslie his great-great-granddaughter born September 1, 2019.
Our father resided with his family on the farm in Saskatchewan, our grandfather had been a professional musician playing many musical instruments and passing on this musical gift to his son. Dad ordered his first guitar from the Eaton’s catalogue and with his keen musical ear he was able to learn the chords and pick out some pretty impressive tunes. At age 14 he was recruited by his school teacher to play in the school band.
In 1944 after completing his schooling at the top of his class, he and his brother Magnus left home to work in northern Manitoba logging white spruce which was utilized to manufacture mosquito bombers for the war effort. In the late 1940’s he travelled to BC to reunite with his best friend who was building highways in the Okanagan and dad worked as a CAT operator.
While driving down the road one day in Rutland he and his buddy came across two pretty young girls riding bicycles, he was smitten by the petite blonde Angela Peters, our mother, and she would often tell us that she knew in that moment this was the man that she was going to marry.
Mom and dad were married in 1952, bigger money beckoned and they travelled to thriving Prince Rupert where he established the first driving school in the Pacific North West, the first Hertz Rent-A-Car and the first certified welding shop.
He formed the band called the Rhythm Ramblers and they performed every Saturday night at the local Royal Canadian Legion. In 1962 mom and dad moved away from the rainy climate deciding to move to the Village of Castlegar. Dad had his Class-A welding ticket and he worked at the Hugh Keenlyside Dam and other pulp mill projects and dams throughout the Southern Interior.
In 1978 he invented an arc/air cutting torch. He was granted a Canadian and US patent and manufactured over 1000 torches in his own little work shop – these were marketed throughout Canada. Sadly, in 1978 our mother Angela passed away at age 48.
Dad’s second partner Stella Mulawka loved old time music as well, she was very social and she encouraged dad to join the BC Old Time Fiddlers. He purchased his first RV of many and he and Stella travelled south to Yuma, Arizona for many winters.
In recent years with fond memories of friendships and travel behind him dad kept up with his music, volunteering to play with his good friends Walter, Victor, Joan, Mary Ann and sometimes daughter Diane for the care homes in the Nelson, Castlegar and Trail area.
He sold his home in 2019 moving to Castle Wood Village and subsequently moving to Rosewood Village just one month prior to his passing on the 31st of January 2021.
Our father was a class act, he was a kindly gentleman to the end. Rest In peace dear Dad – you were our North Star – job well done!
Al Grywacheski of Alternatives Funeral and Cremation ServicesTM has been entrusted with arrangements.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s online register at www.castlegarfuneral.com
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