Bill was born Nov. 19, 1928 in La Crosse, Wis. to William J. and Emma T. (Langen) Von Arx. He was raised in rural Mound Prairie Township “Bush Valley” near La Crescent, Minn. He graduated from St. Peter’s Catholic School in Hokah, Minn. in 1946 and La Crosse State Teacher’s College a few years later. He honorably served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War in Germany from 1951-1953, serving as a counterintelligence agent. After the service, he attended night school at William Mitchell College of Law while teaching at Ramsey Elementary School in St. Paul. He married Theodora “Teddy” Fregin on Aug. 16, 1956 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in La Crosse. After completing law school, he began his legal career working for Northern Pacific Railway. In 1961, he joined the L. L. Duxbury Law Firm in Caledonia and eventually bought the business, which became Von Arx Law Office. He served as County Attorney for Houston County for 16 years and served as City Attorney for several communities in Houston County throughout his career. He was City Attorney for Caledonia for many years and for La Crescent for well over 40 years. He so enjoyed his career he found it difficult to retire in 2012. He enjoyed several hobbies including beekeeping; building picnic tables, bluebird houses and sandboxes; mowing lawn and caring for his land; picking hickory nuts on the farm; helping Teddy with their plants and flowers. They planted thousands of trees over the years. He so loved being with his family and friends. He had much enthusiasm for life and enjoyed singing and speaking German to just about anyone. His religion was central to his life. He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he sang in the choir for many years. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and a 50+ year member of the American Bar Association.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Teddy; seven children; William, Winona; Nancy (Pete) Szotkowski, Madison, Wis.; Joseph (Beth), Rockford, Ill.; Stephen (Anita), St. Charles, Minn.; Christopher (Jana), Caledonia; Erika (Dan) Lind, Peterson, Minn. and Francesca (Dave) Ortmeier, La Crosse. He has 25 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is further survived by brother and sister-in-law Francis and Frannie Von Arx, Hokah; sisters; Marguerite Sheehan, Hokah; Dolores Benz, Portland, Ore. and Rita Hayes, Burnsville, Minn.; sisters-in-law; Betty Von Arx, La Crescent; Rita Von Arx, Houston, Minn.; and Liz Von Arx, Caledonia; and several nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brothers and sisters-in-law; Alfred and Evelyn Von Arx; Otto and Marjorie Von Arx; Paul Von Arx; Walter Von Arx; George Von Arx; Jacob and Jean Von Arx; Joseph and Phyllis Von Arx; sisters and brothers-in-law; Bernice and Don Cavanaugh; Les Sheehan; Helen and Bill Hoskins; Don Benz and Bill Hayes.
A Mass of Christian Burial officiated by Fr. Gregory Lief will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Caledonia on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Burial with military rites will be in Calvary Cemetery, Caledonia. Visitation will be at Holy Family Hall, adjacent to St. Mary’s Church, Feb. 22, from 4 to 8 p.m., with Rosary at 4 p.m. and Christian Wake service at 7:30 p.m. There will be visitation the day of the funeral at the front gathering area of church from 9:30 a.m. to the start of the funeral service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given for St. Mary’s School.
Bill’s family would like to thank all of the staff at Gundersen Lutheran involved in his care for their wonderful service; and family and friends for their constant prayers, love, and support.
McCormick Funeral Home, Caledonia is assisting the family with arrangements and online condolences may be given at mccormickfuneralhome.net.