Thief River Falls – Arthur Dahlen, 91, Thief River Falls, formerly of International Falls, died Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Thief River Care Center, Thief River Falls, with his loving family at his side.
Funeral services were held Monday, April 4, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church in Blackduck, with Rev. John Yingling officiating. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Blackduck. Casket bearers, include Arthur’s grandchildren. A noon meal will be served at the church and visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.
Visitation was held from 4 to 7 p.m., with a 7 p.m. prayer service led by Rev. Gary Graff, on Sunday, April 3 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls.
Arthur Oswald Dahlen was born on the family farm near Kindred, N.D., on Nov. 21, 1924, the son of Carl Johan “Johnny” and Gertrude Louise (Olson) Dahlen. He was baptized and confirmed at Norman Lutheran Church, rural Kindred. He attended Kindred schools through grade 12.
On Jan. 11, 1943, Arthur entered into service with the North Dakota Naval Reserve. He completed basic training at Farragut Naval Training Station in Idaho and was trained as a Pharmacist’s Mate (Hospital Corpsman).
On Nov. 21, 1943 (his 19th birthday), Arthur sailed out of San Francisco Bay to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In January, they sailed from Hawaii as part of the American invasion of the Marshall Islands. On Feb. 2, 1944, Arthur took part in the battle of Kwajalein Atoll, landing on Roi-Namur Island. He helped set up the hospital, The Naval Air Base 825 Dispensary.
On the evening of Feb. 12, 1944, they were bombed by the Japanese and stored fuel and ordinance burned well into the next day. Art and several other corpsmen took shelter in a bomb crater where one man lost his arm and Art was wounded in his left arm and none were killed. The corpsmen cared for their own wounds, made no official reports, no Purple Hearts were awarded. He stayed on that island for the remainder of the war. Base 825 served as base for a marine fighter unit and Art served as Corpsman providing basic health and sanitation. With the wars end in 1945, Arthur sailed home on the USS Hollandia and was Honorably Discharged from the Navy on February 16, 1946. He returned home to the family farm.
Following the war, Art worked various jobs. He drove truck, installed power lines for the REA, and worked on the family farm. While driving truck for Rich Garage in Kindred, Art met the new bookkeeper, Fern Gustafson. On Feb. 23, 1952 they were married at First Presbyterian Church in Blackduck. In April 1953, they moved from Kindred to International Falls, where Art took work at the Insulite Fiberboard Mill. To this union eight children were born, Robert, Mary, Kevin, Debra, Gary, David, Nayda, and Rebecca.
On March 28, 1981, Art was involved in an industrial accident at the mill which resulted in the loss of his hands. After extensive rehab, he returned to the same job and worked there until the mill closed in December of 1984.
He enjoyed listening to music, going to concerts; he built their house and garage, photography, needlework until he lost his hands, painting, attending high school hockey and football games, and watching Hockey Night In Canada on the TV. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in International Falls and IWA Local 4-33 (Woodworkers Union).
On Dec. 21, 1998, Fern passed away. Art sold the house and moved into an apartment in International Falls. In August of 2007, Art made his home in Thief River Falls, where he has continued to reside. On May 26, 2013, Kindred High School awarded Arthur his High School Diploma, 70 years after he entered into the Navy.
He is survived by eight children, Robert (Sheila) Dahlen of Goodridge, Mary Dahlen of International Falls, Kevin (Laura Lee) Dahlen of Dassel, Debra (Charlie) DeLeeuw of Piedmont, S.D., Gary Dahlen of Thief River Falls, David (Anne) Dahlen of Zumbrota, Nayda (Ed Jenson) Cheney of Blackduck, and Rebecca (Paul) Haberle of Blackduck; 17 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; brother-in-law, M. Donald Schmidt of Lisbon, N.D.; Fern’s relatives; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Fern; parents; brothers, John and Luther; and sister, Lois.
Memorials are suggested to the Hospice Of The Red River Valley.