Tue, 10/18/2016 - 3:31pm mfodness
Arnold “Arnie” Gabrielson, 89, died Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.
A memorial celebration of Arnie’s life will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Berean Baptist Church, 309 East County Road 42, in Burnsville.
Arnie Gabrielson was born Aug. 6, 1927, to Norwegian immigrants Ole and Avilda Gabrielson on his family’s farm outside Luverne. As a child, Arnie was fascinated by his father’s tales of prospecting for gold in the Klondike Gold Rush, where Ole and his brothers found enough of a stake to buy farmland near Luverne. Arnie enjoyed a recent trip to Alaska where he was able to trace some of his father’s steps on the quest for gold.
Arnie started working at ten years old as a printer’s devil (sorting type) for a local newspaper, as a pinsetter in a bowling alley, and as a paper boy. At age 14, he and a friend jumped freight trains and rode from Luverne to St. Louis, where they worked with a prison chain gang stringing telephone wires and cable on top of new telephone and telegraph poles.
At age 17, Arnie enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He trained at Wold Chamberlain and was stationed in Oakland and San Diego, California. He was about to ship out to the Pacific Theater when the war ended. Arnie returned to Luverne to finish high school.
Arnie married Mickey Thorson. The family moved to Austin in 1950, where they lived until Mickey’s death in 2002.
Arnie worked for the phone company, sold insurance, steel buildings, and eventually worked on alternative fuel projects such as an engine adapter to burn part diesel and part low-grade alcohol. He invented, built and installed converters to burn alcohol in existing diesel engines.
Arnie served as Commander of American Legion Post 91 and was active in veterans’ affairs. He drove veterans to medical appointments, worked as a driver for the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch and Mower County Social Services, and as a reserve bailiff. Arnie and Mickey enjoyed working with kids and started a program connecting at-risk kids with adult mentors in the community.
Arnie moved to Burnsville in 2012 to be closer to his children. He enjoyed trips to Georgia and California to visit his children and grandchildren. Arnie enjoyed exploring Northern California’s redwoods, coastline and vineyards.
Arnie is survived by his sister, Clara Gabrielson George, Newington, Connecticut, and his children Tim Gabrielson (Diane) of Austin, Tom Gabrielson (Dawn) of Minneapolis, Sue Bjerke (Scott) of Eagan, Mary Jacobson (Scot) of Cumming, Georgia, Janny (Mark) Tansil of Sebastopol, California, and Randy (Katey) Gabrielson of Stillwater; 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.