Fred Arnold, 81, of Spring Grove

Fred Robert Arnold, 81, of Spring Grove, passed away at home from a short illness of cancer on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 with his wife and his family by his side. 

Fred was born August 1, 1938 to Fred J. and Margaret (Carr) Arnold in Mason City, IA. 

In 1960 Fred graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a Bachelors’ degree in music education. 

Fred started his career teaching Band and English at Canton, Minn. and coaching their high school golf team. While at Canton he met a Spring Grove flute player, Barbara Sylling, and they were married Sept. 26, 1964.

In 1963, Fred started working for the St. Paul Public Schools as band and orchestra instructor. Five years later he moved to the Apple Valley – Rosemount School district teaching Jr. High instrumental music. 

Wherever he went he made many friends and had great satisfaction in watching students grow musically and as people. While in the Twin Cities, Fred was active in the State Music Educators’ Association. 

Along with Barbara playing flute, he played trumpet and French horn in several music groups, which produced lasting friendships.

In 1968 he completed a Masters’ degree in music education from University of Minnesota.

June 6, 1974 Fred and Barbara made a career change. They became parents, and left teaching to be self-employed farmers on the Sylling homestead near Spring Grove. 

That day they taught school in the morning, were at Wold-Chamberlain airport at 12:00 to welcome Marie (14 months old, 12 lbs.) and went to the farm. Daughter Elsa joined their family in 1982.

While farming Fred earned recognition including awards for milk quality and Outstanding Alfalfa Producer from the National Alfalfa Symposium.

In 2010 the farm was recognized as a Century Farm. Fred and Barbara farmed until 2014 when they retired and continue to live at the farm homestead.

Fred felt privileged to be a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove and the Spring Grove and Caledonia communities. At church he was a member of several committees, church choir, and bell choir. 

Fred was on the Spring Grove School Board for 19 years. He was honored to present both daughters with their high school diplomas. He served on the Houston County Extension Committee. 

Marie and Elsa were both active 4-H members during a 20-year span with Fred being an extremely supportive parent for all the events, cattle shows, and project work.

Whatever the organization, Fred wanted to enhance the group with his desire to provide leadership and gain knowledge, always involving others. This included his farm. 

In about 2010, he started a brass quintet, Thankful Brass, which met weekly at his home. This group grew in their musical finesse, enjoyment, and friendship. 

He had weekly music rehearsals with Luren Singers, Thankful Brass, Trinity choir and bell choir, and a concert band. Monthly musical enjoyment came with Blessed Brass (Madison, Wis.) and 1st Brigade Band (Watertown, Wis.).

During retirement, golfing returned to Fred’s daily routine. He always tried to improve his score, which did happen. He and Barbara spent hours together in her vegetable and flower gardens.

He thoroughly enjoyed travels around parts of the U.S. and Europe with Elsa and Doug visiting friends and family, including twice to Germany while Marie, David and their family lived there.

After having led a busy life for many years, Fred decided to run for and was elected to Houston County Board of Commissioners in 2016. 

He gained many new friends, spent numerous hours researching and studying county endeavors. He drew great satisfaction from contributing to the present and future of his friends and neighbors and would very much have liked to continue this for years to come.

Fred is survived by his wife Barbara Arnold (Sylling); Daughters Marie (David) Blakeman and Elsa (Douglas) Condon; Grandsons Matteo Johnson, Tyler Robinson and Jacob Robinson; Great Grandsons William Johnson and Theo Johnson. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Fred J. and Margaret (Carr) Arnold; brothers-in-law Gordon Sylling and Warren Sylling. 

Fred’s family wishes to thank their many friends for being so helpful during his illness. St. Croix Hospice staff provided much care and support.  

Visitation was Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove from 5 to 9 p.m. Memorial service will be Wednesday, November, 27 at 11 a.m. with lunch following at Trinity fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Trinity Lutheran Church, your favorite music organization or a charity of your choice.

Roble Funeral Home of Spring Grove is assisting the family.