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In Memory of Arvid Vallem


January 9, 1925 - May 18, 2019

Lifelong Hayward resident Arvid H. Vallem passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, May 18, 2019 (Armed Forces Day) at the age of 94 due to complications from cancer.  

Arvid was born on January 9, 1925, the first of five children born to Arthur and Ruth (Koloen) Vallem.  As a boy growing up on a farm (where Walmart is today) he learned how to work hard, a quality he carried throughout his entire life.  Arvid graduated from Hayward High School in 1942 during the Great Depression, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was President.  Arvid was 100% Norwegian American.  His grandparents emigrated from Norway, and his parents were born in the USA.

Arvid served our country in the Pacific Theatre in the Philippines with the 41st Infantry Division when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and again in the occupation of Japan.  Then, after working at the Hayward Dairy for two years, he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Company B, 724th Engineer Battalion in March 1949.  He served there as a full time employee as an enlisted man and warrant officer until he retired in 1980 with over 34 years of service.  Arvid served during the Berlin Crisis in 1961-62.  He has been a member of the VFW for 72 years, serving as Post Commander, Sr. and Jr. Vice Commander and Adjutant/Quartermaster. 

After retirement from the Guard, Arvid worked part time for the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office for 8 years as a dispatcher, jailer, court officer and transporter of prisoners.

Arvid was elected as Town Clerk for the Town of Hayward in 1949 and served on that board for the next 46 years.  He also served on the Sawyer County Board from 1966 to 1970.  In 1970 he was appointed to the Sawyer County Veterans Service Commission and also to the Sawyer County Zoning Board of Appeals, serving on both committees for over 30 years. 

For several years Arvid was a licensed Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor for the Hayward Community Credit Union, completing over 150 appraisals for the Sawyer County Highway Department.

In 1986 the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans units in Hayward formed the Veterans Community Center.  Arvid was in charge of fundraising and overseeing the collection of over $280,000 for the building project. He was Treasurer of this association for 16 years.  Arvid was chosen as Veteran of the Year in both 1999 and 2014. 

Arvid’s life long volunteer service included teaching Hunter and Snowmobile Safety classes to over 3,200 students, volunteering 33 years for the American Birkebeiner and 40 years with the American Red Cross.

In 2004 Arvid was selected to be the Grand Marshal of the Musky Festival parade based on his service to the community and country. 

In 1961 Arvid married Elaine Hill. They enjoyed traveling around the US visiting family and friends.  They were married 53 years until Elaine’s death in April of 2015.  

Arvid’s surviving family include sons Robert Vallem of Kennewick, WA, Jim (Christina) Vallem of Ann Arbor, MI along with their children Sarah of Ypsilanti, MI and David of Cleveland, OH; daughters Connie (Brian) Carlson of Foxboro, WI along with their children Melissa (JR) Rugg of Superior, WI and Seth (Danielle) Harmadi of North Augusta, SC, Cory Greschner of Janesville, WI and her daughter Erin Elaine of Janesville, WI; sisters Bertha Swan of Spooner, WI and Florence Bilderback of Hayward, sister-in-law Edith Vallem of Hayward and brother-in-law Gene (Beth) Hill of Trail, OR.  Arvid was happy to have his first great grandchild, Jameson Rugg of Superior, WI added to the family in December of 2016.

Preceding Arvid in death were his parents, brothers Stuart (1989) and Raymond (2004), brother-in-law Jim (2013), wife Elaine (2015), brother-in-law Melvin (2015), and sister-in-law Naomi (2017).

Casket bearers include Steve Lynch, Al Weis, Dan Gunderson, Ward Winton, Lee Peterson, George Long, and Rex Schultz.

Honorary casket bearers include Gary Briggs, Donald Sheehan, Tony Kerner, Gerald Baranzyk and Tom Moore.

Arvid lived a long and happy life!  He was a wonderful example of a life spent in service to others, leaving a great legacy to all who knew and loved him.  He will be remembered for his big smile, great attitude and will be deeply missed. 

On Friday, May 24, visitation is 1-3 pm, with the funeral service at 3 pm, at First Lutheran Church in Hayward, 10680 Main Street.  Following the service, a meal will be served at the Veterans Community Center, 10534 Main Street, from 4 – 6 pm.  A military burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Hayward on June 15 at 10 am. 

Memorials can be made to VFW Post 7233, PO Box 792, Hayward, WI 54843 and/or First Lutheran Church, PO Box 346, Hayward, WI  54843.


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