Funeral services for Arnold Jacob Torkelson, 87, of rural Gilmore City will be held Saturday, October 3rd, at 10:00 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 1005 11th Avenue North, Humboldt. Visitation will be Friday, October 2nd, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Fellowship Hall of the church. Please use the west entrance. The family requests face masks be worn. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home in Humboldt is in charge of arrangements.
Arnold passed away quietly at home with his wife by his side on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. He was born on July 16, 1933, to Jacob and Amy (Warland) Torkelson at their home in rural Humboldt County. He liked to tell people his mother stopped milking cows long enough for Arnold to be born, and then he took over. He was the fourth of 13 children and for 11 years was the only boy with his eight sisters, until his four brothers started joining the family. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Humboldt. He began school in Rutland and graduated from Humboldt High School in 1952.
Due to his father’s poor health, Arnold assumed the responsibilities of the family farming operation at age 14, milking cows and completing chores, along with his sisters, before and after school. In the late 1940s, his family moved to rural Thor where he began to take greater notice of a nice German girl while working side by side with her baling hay for his future father-in-law. She drove the tractor while Arnold stacked the bales. He was united in marriage to Mildred Kirchhof on December 13, 1953, at Zion Lutheran Church located in Beaver Township. They made their home and began farming and milking cows west of Humboldt, on the same farm where Arnold was born. While farming there, Mildred and Arnold’s six children were born. In 1964 the family moved to a farm east of Pioneer, where they’ve lived for the past 56 years.
Arnold was an active member of his community, serving on both the Gilmore City-Bradgate School Board and the Humboldt County Fair Board for several terms. He was a long-time member of Zion Lutheran Church in Humboldt where he served in many positions on the church council and also served as a Sunday School teacher and Superintendent. Arguably, his greatest service was in solving many of the world’s problems during the morning coffee therapy sessions at the Pioneer grain elevator. Arnold was well-known as a self-taught carpenter and woodworker. He took pride in his many projects, including making his own casket. He was a loving and faithful husband, a dedicated and involved father, and a very fun grandpa, allowing and even encouraging his grandchildren to do things their parents wouldn’t have allowed, like shooting off home fireworks, riding in the tractor loader, and hands-on electrical/welding “lessons.” He once hosted a Halloween party, while his wife was away, which included bobbing for apples in their living room.
Arnold is survived by his wife, Mildred; children: Cynthia Bandstra, Chattanooga, TN; Mike (Mary) Torkelson, West Branch; Becky (Randy) Jones, Anderson, SC; Shelly Phillips, Humboldt; and Dave (Joni) Torkelson, Humboldt; 15 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren; siblings: Lois Christopher, Pearl Pedersen, Jean Lehman, Esther (Keith) Presler, Ruby (Don) Thompson, Russell (Loralee) Torkelson, David (Carol) Torkelson, Steven Torkelson, and Bruce (Mary) Torkelson; and a host of nieces and nephews
Arnold was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter Jackie (Brad) Daggy; son-in-law Tom Bandstra; and sisters and in-laws: Naomi Torkelson, Dick Christopher, Cecil Pedersen, Melvin Lehman, Beverly and Ralph Bowen, Nina and Mike Abrams, and Paula Torkelson.