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Marjorie Meta Arneson

January 12, 2023 | 1 comment

On January 4, 2023, Marjorie Meta Arneson, at 92 years of age, peacefully passed away, with family by her side, to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ and her husband, Douglas. She was born in La Crosse on August 9, 1930 to Walter and Meta Wehling.

After marriage in 1951, she worked for Trane Company for a short time as a secretary.

As partners, Douglas and Margie acquired real estate and were respected landlords for over 50 years. They also constructed and managed Arneson Mini Storage, which exists today.

She developed her passion for painting and artistic skills to a level respected by many. Her father, Walter Wehling, taught her to paint different scapes, donating many, including a large painting of “Family” to Gundersen.

Volunteering at Gundersen, First Lutheran Church and school was a dedicated past time.

Margie always enjoyed being entertained. Whether it was with their sailboat, as members of the Sailboat club or water skiing well into her seventies. She has been known to ski from La Crosse to Brownsville, Minnesota many times. Mom and Dad loved their winter times in Florida at Disney and other parks. She also loved to play bridge with friends and entertain at their home they built below Cliffwood bluff.  As members of the La Crosse Community theatre, she and Douglas enjoyed many plays.

Her contagious laugh and smile posed a pleasant memory for all who knew her. Marjorie will remain in our hearts forever.

Survivors include her two sons, Gary (Catherine) Arneson, La Crosse, Steven Arneson of Ogden, Utah, four grandchildren, Alicia Arneson, La Crosse, Tessa (Tim Watke) Arneson, Chase (Andie) Arneson, and Tori Arneson, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Margie is also survived by five great grandchildren and leaves behind MANY friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Douglas, her sister, Betty Kelly and her parents.

Thank you to all the folks at Eagle Crest South, Memory Care 3 for their wonderful care and unforgettable memories of Margie. Also, thank you to Gundersen Hospice for their loving care and thanks to Dr. Larry for his kindness.

Funeral service will be Friday, January 20, 2023 at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, La Crosse. Visitation from 10 – 11 am and service at 11 am. Burial will be August 4, 2023 at Mormon Coulee Cemetery.

Memorials may be given to First Evangelical Lutheran Church or Gundersen Hospice.

This was an article written about Marjorie and published in the Gundersen Pathfinder:

If you’ve visited the Gundersen Gift Shop near the I main lobby of our Hospital, chances are you’ve met Marjorie (Margie) Arneson. Over four decades of volunteer service as a member of the Partners/ Auxiliary organization have made her an exceptional ambassador for Gundersen Health System. Together with her late husband, Douglas, Margie has been a lifelong believer in contributing time, talent and treasure to support the great medical care available at Gundersen.

The Arnesons’ many gifts to Gundersen Medical Foundation were first recorded in 1988, and continued faithfully every year since. Even before that, Margie and Doug were actively involved in the benefit musical productions staged by the Gundersen Auxiliary (now Partners) from 1968 to 2002. Known as Pills A’ Poppin and later as Rhythms, these fundraising revues featured the talents of an incredibly talented and dedicated membership both on stage and off.

For years, Margie Arneson served on committees, sold advertising space, sang, danced and entertained while behind the scenes, Doug designed programs, created scenery and props, and served on the stage crew. “It was always fun,” Margie recalls. “A lot of work, but we enjoyed it.”

Born and raised in La Crosse, Margie and Doug developed their close relationship with the Gundersen organization while raising their two sons and growing their family business, Arneson Storage & Apartments. As hard as they worked, they both liked to make time for fun. Son Gary has great memories of summers on the river, when his dad would come home after eight hours at his job at Dairyland Power and take his family boating. “We would leave from the municipal harbor, and from there Mom would waterski all the way to Brownsville,” says Gary. “We definitely played.” His brother Steve recalls their childhood home being a big attraction for their many friends because “Mom was always the favorite hostess. My friends all adored her, and she always found time to serve punch and cookies while we hung out in the basement.”

It’s clear that Margie always had a special talent for having fun. “So many people I talk to still remember Mom’s laugh,” says Gary. “It’s Infectious.” After the ski boat years, Margie and Doug took up sailing together, a hobby they enjoyed well into their seventies. During their annual trips to Florida, they would always visit Disney World to ride the roller coasters, even in later years when Doug was in a wheelchair.

Among their many friends, the Arnesons were known for hosting card parties and other gatherings at their home, where Margie liked to surround herself with music and pursue her passion for painting. She is well-known in the local arts community for her scenic landscapes that often feature the natural beauty of local landmarks. Margie’s paintings grace the walls of many private homes and public spaces throughout the area, some done by commission and some completed as special gifts like those she donated to Gundersen Clinic.

Gundersen Medical Foundation is grateful that Margie’s fun-loving approach to life included serving her community as a volunteer and donor. “Both Margie and Doug were committed and devoted to this organization in so many ways,” reflects Robyn Tanke, CFRE, Chief Development Officer. “Our relationship with loyal friends like these really made our progress possible through the years, and they also serve as such a wonderful example to others.” For Marjorie Arneson, a lifetime of philanthropy can be summed up in one word: fun.




1 Comment

  1. The Gaulkes

    Gary and Cathy,
    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. May your memories of such wonderful times warm your heart and ease the pain of loss. Sending our deepest condolences, Larry and Jeanie Gaulke

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