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Ronald Arndt Arnesen

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Ronald Arndt Arnesen Obituary
Ronald Arndt "Arnie" Arnesen passed away peacefully in his home in Antioch on Oct. 24. Arnie was 85 and had battled bravely against congestive heart failure for more than a decade. Arnie had lived in Antioch since 1986 with his wife of 29 years, Debra Mackett Arnesen. Before that, he lived in Oak Brook and Oak Park. Arnie had an uncanny ability to engage anybody and everybody. There was literally no stranger he could not walk up to and quickly draw into friendly conversation. Arnie often said that his greatest legacy were his two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. In his last years, as his disease increasingly sapped his energy, Arnie was happiest when he was at the center of "chaos" (his word) that occurred whenever his family and all of his great-grandchildren got together. Arnie was born in Oak Park on Jan. 20, 1927 to the late Erwin and Helen (Gapski) Arnesen. He graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School in 1945 and then served for two years in the U.S. Navy. In 1946 Arnie married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Irene Reiser, who predeceased him and with whom he raised two daughters, Susan (Ted) Livingston and Sally (Anthony) Ciraulo. After leaving the Navy, Arnie worked in industrial sales, including a lengthy stint in a senior position with Reproduction Products in Park Ridge. In the early 1960's Arnie discovered his true passion as the congenial, well-loved owner of Arnie's Dog House in Elmwood Park, where his loyal clientele feasted on some of the best hot dogs and Italian sausage in the Chicagoland area. Arnie sold the Dog House in the early 1970's and purchased another restaurant, Arnie's Airdome in Westchester. He retired to Antioch in 1986, where he converted a two-car garage into a fabulous workshop in which he employed literally thousands of tools to build and fix just about anything, from birdfeeders to skateboards to engines. Arnie also was a proud member of the Shriners for over 63 years. For many years he performed as Corky the roller skating clown at the Shriners' charitable events and was always a big hit with young and old alike. Arnie is survived by his loving wife, Debra, whose selfless devotion to caring for Arnie during his most difficult times was truly remarkable; his daughters Susan and Sally; his five grandchildren Dustin (Michelle) Risser, Heather (Kevin) Leahy, Jennifer (Robert) Roth, Ted Livingston and Suzie Livingston; his eight fabulous great-grandchildren Andrew, Zachary, Joshua, Mac, Tucker, Tate, Finnegan and Gray; and his many nieces and nephews who knew him as "Uncle Ronnie" or simply "Unc." Arnie was loved by many and will truly be missed. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Shriners Hospitals for Children would be greatly appreciated. www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org
Published in Chicago Tribune from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, 2012
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