Arnold N. Cajet
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Arnie Cajet died peacefully June 22, 2020 surrounded by his wife of 62 years, Mary Ann, his daughter Kim(Rick) Dsida and son Ken. After a stellar diving career at Loyola Academy and the University of Illinois, he coached for over 50 years, starting at Niles West High School, moving to New Trier High School and finishing at Loyola Academy. He was the first diving coach ever to be named to The International Swimming Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Illinois Swimming Association Diving Hall of Fame, the Illinois Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Loyola Academy Hall of Fame. He coached nine Illinois State Champions, one National Champion, 27 National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) All Americans and seven honorable mentions All Americans. He was the NISCA Diving chairman for 16 years.

After retiring he had more time to devote to his four grandsons Rick(Shannon), Brad(Ashley), Jeff (Megan) and Matt Dsida. He loved to attend their sporting events, cheering loudly and enthusiastically. Aside from diving and family, his other love was fishing. He would fish anywhere, Lake Michigan, Lake Delavan, the Gulf of Mexico or even the ponds at Walt Disney World. One never knew if he had a good day or was skunked because he could fish all day.

Recently, his joy came from his first great grandchild, Charlie(Rick & Shannon) and the knowledge of another great grandchild coming in August(Jeff & Megan).

He was a wonderful Husband, Father, Poppy & Great Poppy. He will be missed.


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Published in Chicago Tribune from Jun. 28 to Jul. 2, 2020.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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20 entries
June 30, 2020
Dear Mary, Kim and Ken,

Arnie has always had a special place in the Nash family. With 8 children in the family I think he taught 6 of us how to dive. However my brother, Joe, was the only one to dive at NT and then at Iowa. Back in the earlier 70's Arnie was the unofficial coach of Loyola Academy where my bother and I went on to dive in college! He even taught 2 of my sons. My son, Charlie, help Loyola Academy beat Fenwick for the Catholic League Championship. Charlie was the epitome of "Spaghetti in a Windstorm". I also fondly remember going on one of Arnie's canoeing to Canada. Arnie was one of those rare individuals who was able to bring out the best in people whether he was a coach, a teacher or just a friend. May God bless you in this time of sorrow.

Frank Nash
LA '72
Frank Nash
Student
June 29, 2020
My best to all the Cajet family. I will be thinking fondly of Arnie and the four years I swam at New Trier and shared advisory with Kim.
Mary Jo Ahlem Lee
Friend
June 29, 2020
Arnie was such a great guy and so full of life..I know this is a difficult time please know I am thinking you all ..Susie Vazzano.
Susie Vazzano
June 29, 2020
My deepest condolences to the family. I get to know Arnie as a caregiver and his wonderful wife Mary Ann.
Flora
floran308@gmail.com
Friend
June 29, 2020
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Darien
June 28, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Love, the Ahern family.
JoAnne Ahern
Friend
June 28, 2020
Lets not forget; he also taught many of us how to drive.
Green Wave 73
John Brandenburg
Student
June 28, 2020
Arnie was instrumental in changing the course of my daughter's life. She was a 10 year old gymnast under the expert direction of Arnie's son Ken at Northbrook Gymnastics Training Center when tragedy struck. She was diagnosed with a rare vascular disease in her leg and was unable to safely participate in gymnastics. She was devastated by losing a sport she loved and the many friends she made. Ken suggested she try diving and that his father was the diving coach for a summer program. Arnie was aware of my daughter's disability and worked tirelessly to teach her to land head first into the water. Her natural ability was to land firmly on her feet! Arnie was persistent and exuded positive encouragement week after week. He never gave up on her. She continued diving in high school and earned 3rd place in State her senior year. She earned a college scholarship in diving to Miami University in Ohio. She went on to coach diving at Lake Forest H.S. and Wheeling H.S. I attribute her success to Arnie. What a wonderful man of integrity, compassion and humor. I send my condolences to the family. May he rest in peace.
Barb Melby (Neustadter)
Acquaintance
June 26, 2020
My deepest condolences.

Arnie was a special mentor to me at a time of great change in my life. I transferred to NTE my sophomore year to swim. Arnie stepped in as my Advisor Chairman, made sure that I was slotted into the best classes with the best teachers, and took time to make sure that I was introduced to the classmates that would become my best friends. He truly cared about me and my future. I'm grateful for that. He was also a hysterical coach! Those were fun years.
He was also a friend to my Dad who also taught at New Trier. Dad was very fond of him.
Peter Coxon NTE '81
Student
June 26, 2020
What a great man!
Not only did he teach me how to dive, He taught me how to drive In drivers Education. What a great life he has had. I am sorry for your loss and to all of us that are left on this earth with out the ones who have gone before us.
Love to you and yours, Mary Lee McClain Renken class of 1980 NTE.
Mary Lee McClain Renken
June 26, 2020
Mary Lee McClain
Student
June 26, 2020
I join the chorus of divers blessed to be coached by Arnie. His love and dedication to diving and his divers cultivated treasures of memories and life lessons that we carry with us today.

To his family, may you find comfort as you mourn the loss of such a precious soul.

Barbara (Broderick) Brock NT83
Barbara
Student
June 25, 2020
MA, Kim and Ken, so sorry to hear this news. Sending love, hugs and prayers your way!!
Lynne & John Rine

Lynne Rine
Friend
June 25, 2020

Dear Mary Ann, Kim, and Ken,

My deepest condolences.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about Arnie. This happens often. Reminiscing about his infectious laugh, his larger than life personality and the tremendous influence he had on my life. Of all the time he gave and the sacrifices he made for me and all his divers. We will always be, Arnies Army.

What separated Arnie from other coaches, was his love of the sport, his gift for teaching diving and coaching competitive divers. His ability to instill confidence during the growing years while helping you to become a better person.

Fondly remember Arnies coach to diver shout outs as he patrolled the diving deck of the pool. Insert name of any diver Arnie ever coached here: Hey _______Dont be short. Really? you looked like spaghetti in a windstorm, cmon kid, you need to be tough as nails.

I am lucky, blessed, and grateful to have had Arnie Cajet in my life. He taught me how to fly.
Rest In Peace, Coach
With Love,
Keith
Keith Harrison Kenner, NTE 73
Katie Kenner
Student
June 25, 2020
Dear Mary Ann and family, its been many, many years since I last saw you, but our ties and times together have never been forgotten. Sending love and peace from the Lanzillottas to all of you at this time.
Diana Lanzillotta Bobis
June 25, 2020
Dear Cajet Family,
My sister contacted me with this sad news which certainly prompted me to think about Arnie, though I do think of him quite often. As a 70's era diver at New Trier, Arnie was a great mentor to me. I regularly think of the lessons Arnie taught me that have benefited me throughout the years. He had a significant positive influence on my life like few others and I remember him fondly. I was a pretty good diver as a result of Arnie's coaching, but my name is not on the wall at the pool or in the annals of diving history. Arnie did not only invest in the great athletes or the next champion, I was neither and he invested a lot in me. I still consider it an important moment when Arnie came out of his pool office during PE class because he noticed I had some basic skills on the diving board. He encouraged me to be part of the team that day. I joined the team and went on to dive in college. With Arnie as coach, I grew as a diver, but far more so as a person. I am certainly a better person for having known Arnie and benefited from his mentorship for which I am always grateful.
With deepest sympathies,
Jerry Hennessy NTE Diving, class of 1980.

Jerry Hennessy NTE Diving 1980
Student
June 25, 2020
God bless Arnie's family at this time. It was a joy to watch Arnie coach in the 70s and see Peter Agnew and Keith Kenner win state championships.
Ted Ahlem, NTE 1974
Ted Ahlem
Student
June 25, 2020
Arnie Cajet

Dear Mary Ann and family.

Ive been thinking of Arnie for several weeks, reminiscing about all our hours together at the pool and how much he influenced me and my life. Im so sorry for your loss.

Be it New Trier West, New Trier East, or Centennial Park - we logged thousands of hours together during the 1970s and 1980s. Like most of his divers, I met him in the summer at Centennial pool as a young gymnast. I know Arnie loved coaching anyone and everyone, but I think the special glimmer in his eye when he successfully taught a newbie a basic dive like a reverse, was probably the time I saw him the happiest as a coach.

I have so many incredible memories of him as a coach, but overall, it was his boundless enthusiasm insert image of him bouncing down the pool deck while cheering us on, giving redirection, or encouraging us to take a chance on something. He was larger than life and his love of the sport was infectious!

I can only imagine how much love he had in his heart for his grandchildren and great grands - what lucky fellas to have larger than life Arnie as their poppy! Those are memories to cherish.

Arnie had a powerful and permanent impact on me. Ill never forget him and his dedication to helping us grow as athletes and human beings. Im deeply grateful to have had the privilege to know and learn from him.

Rest In Peace, coach.
With love,
Megan
Megan Murphy Sparks
Student
June 25, 2020
Dear Mary Ann and family.

Ive been thinking of Arnie for several weeks, reminiscing about all our hours together at the pool and how much he influenced me and my life. Im so sorry for your loss.

Be it New Trier West, New Trier East, or Centennial Park - we logged thousands of hours together during the 1980s. Like most of his divers, I met him in the summer at Centennial pool as a young gymnast. I know Arnie loved coaching anyone and everyone, but I think the special glimmer in his eye when he successfully taught a newbie a basic dive like a reverse, was probably the time I saw him the happiest as a coach.
I have so many incredible memories of him as a coach, but overall, it was his boundless enthusiasm insert image of him bouncing down the pool deck while cheering us on, giving redirection, or encouraging us to take a chance on something. He was larger than life and his love of the sport was infectious!

I can only imagine how much love he had in his heart for his grandchildren and great grands - what lucky fellas to have larger than life Arnie as their poppy! Those are memories to cherish.

Arnie had a powerful and permanent impact on me. Ill never forget him and his dedication to helping us grow as athletes and human beings. Im deeply grateful to have had the privilege to know and learn from him.

Rest In Peace, coach.
With love,
Megan
Megan Murphy Sparks
Student
June 24, 2020
Mary Ann, Kim and Ken, my deepest condolences. I was one of the many divers for Arnie at New Trier. He taught me so much. Obviously he was a master at teaching the art of diving but more importantly a master at teaching the art of life. He counselled and formed young people at the critical time in life, high school. I benefited greatly from knowing Arnie and always had the greatest respect for him. I was one of those All American candidates. I will never forget the first commandment from Arnie: "REACH!!!" In diving, you reach to begin to get the most height and you reach at the end to stretch for the perfect entry. There is no better metaphor for life. REACH! It was impossible to escape Arnie's infectious positive attitude (displayed perfectly with the picture you selected) and serious drive for perfection. He taught me so much. He will be missed but always remember, reach for the maximum height and for the perfect entry. I think he did that. May God Bless. - George Klauke, Jr. NTE-1978.
George Klauke
Student
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