Arne was born Dec. 4, 1920, the son of Peter and Celia (Myhre) Engen on the family farm in Wilmington Township near Caledonia, Minn. He was baptized and confirmed at the Wilmington Lutheran Church. He graduated from Caledonia High School in May 1938.
Following high school, he held a variety of interesting occupations. He was a Fuller Brush man, helped his uncle service windmills and drove a gasoline delivery truck. He served in the U.S. Army during WWII from August, 1942 to December, 1945, spending most of his time in Guadalcanal. After returning home, he drove a cement truck for the construction of an ammunition plant in Baraboo, Wis. He moved to Mabel in 1946 where he met his future wife, Olive Majorie Hagen, at a firemen’s dance at Matter’s Ballroom in Decorah, Iowa. They were married in a double wedding ceremony with Evelyn Narum and Odell Johnson on Aug. 31, 1948. They spent all of their married life in Mabel.
Arne was an inspired businessman and held a variety of occupations in the Mabel area. He was a partner in Engen-Wold Lumber Company with his brother-in-law Glennis Wold. He owned and operated Engen Grocery Store with his wife, who grew up at the Tawney Store, as well as operating a farm north of Mabel. He worked as an independent carpenter, which led to a partnership with Grant Melby, later forming the Melby-Engen Construction Company.
In 1961, Arne pursued his passion for building as the owner of Engen Construction Company, specializing in commercial construction. His wife, Marge, was the secretary. Later, his son, Jeff, joined the business. Arne and Jeff worked together until the present on both commercial and residential projects.
Arne was a member of the Mabel First Lutheran Church, V.F.W., American Legion, Mabel Business Association (67 years) and the Masonic Lodge. He loved spending time with his family, working, traveling and was a devoted Vikings fan. Arne was a fitness enthusiast and his love of exercise continued to the end of his life. He and Marge wintered in Texas for 30 years, where they enjoyed warm weather, golfing, and meeting new friends. One of his most memorable experiences was participating in the Honor Flight to the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. In his later years, he enjoyed a good meal, feeding the birds, spending time with family, listening to music, reading daily devotions and going for rides to view some of his past building projects.
Arne is survived by his wife, Marge, and their three children: Jeffrey (Susan) Engen, Spring Grove; Peggy (Craig) Martin, Beaver Dam, Wis. and Wendy (Fred) Hauser, Appleton, Wis.; nine grandchildren, Peter (Grace) Engen, La Crosse, Wis.; Emily (Dominic) Ricci, Middleton, Wis.; Leah (Ben) Koehler, Dubuque, Iowa; Travis Martin, Nashville, Tenn.; Tyler Martin, Minneapolis, Minn.; Bethany Martin, Boiling Springs, N.C.; Hilary (Joshua) Dummer, Onalaska, Wis.; Jordan Hauser, New York, N.Y. and Jens Hauser, Iowa City, Iowa; six great–grandchildren, Athen Engen Viner, Ivy and Maya Engen, Fletcher Ricci, Dexter Koehler and Isabela Waters; brother, Stanley (Eleanor) Engen; sister-in-law, Betty Engen; brother-in-law, Everett (Doris) Hagen and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Sigrid Wold and Arleine Tollefsrud and brother Pierce Engen.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Mabel First Lutheran Church in Mabel. Burial will be in the Mabel Lutheran Cemetery with military honors by the Mabel American Legion. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4 at the Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel and one hour prior to the services at the church.