Arvid Hendrickson passed away at the Rainy River Health Centre in Rainy River, Ont. on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 at the age of 82.
Arvid will be sadly missed by his brother, Richard (Marlene) of Edmonton, Alta.; sister-in-law, Phyllis of Prince Rupert, B.C.; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
He was predeceased by his father, Charles, in 1942; mother, Bertha, in 1982; brothers, Norman (1984), Melvin (2000), and Wilmar (2001); sisters, Elvina (2001), Adeline (2004), and Mildred (2009); and brothers-in-law, Jack Drennan (1980), Peter Mattison (1987), and Ercell Roadhouse (1986).
Arvid was born, raised, and spent his entire life on what he called the most beautiful place in the world: Wilson Creek.
In his young years, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, and cutting pulp with his siblings on the homestead and when old enough, he went to work for Atwood Township, Bert Russell, Leland Budreau, and other jobs that kept him close to home.
It was in 1953 that life changed for him and his dream of farming ended abruptly. He came in from the fields, dropped on the floor, and after several days in bed with what he thought was the ’flu, he was sent to Winnipeg, Man. to spend almost a full year in an iron lung due to a severe case of polio.
After his long healing process, he returned home with the use of crutches and full leg braces.
Upon his return, he set about completing the home he had built, now doing his own dry-walling, painting, and whatever else he felt needed to be done. Eventually after a few years and some broken bones (collarbone, hips), he was confined to a wheelchair.
This, however, didn’t stop him in the least. Each and every winter, he poured over the seed catalogues ordering seeds for his flower beds. He’d start his seeds and bulbs early and when the time came to plant them outside, he’d work up the flower beds and wheel his plants out on his lap to put them into the ground.
He was ever so proud when all who saw them ooh’d and aaah’d over his gorgeous flowers.
When Arvid’s mother became older and weaker, he took over the cooking and looked after her in the summers when his brothers left for camp. In the winter when they were home, he cooked for all four of them.
In the 1990s, he fell from his ramp with the wheelchair and spent between four and five hours dragging and pulling himself up and into the house, fighting not to pass out. He then phoned his sister, Adeline, to get help.
This time they had to operate for several hours to get all the broken, shattered bones in both legs back together again.
By the next year, however, he was back out in his flower beds, cutting his own grass, and whatever needed to be done. Eventually, his post-polio syndrome started to win out and he had to rely on his nephews, Richard and Gordon Drennan, for many of his chores. And in the summer months, his brother, Richard, and family took over a large portion of them.
He would get excited when someone was going to bring him a meal so he didn’t have to cook. The phone would ring and I’d hear “I hid my pot of peeled potatoes . . . Dennis is bringing me a meal, so I’m good for two days!”
If it was a meal his mother cooked, he was good for almost a week.
There isn’t room to mention everyone who brought meals, but you know who you are. I know at this point he’s probably looking over my shoulder saying, “Hmmmna, why did she put all of that in there,” but facts are facts and he was a marvelous example to all who knew him, so Arvid . . . so long for now.
A celebration of Arvid’s life was held Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 at the Rainy River Legion, with a graveside service to be held at a later date at the McInnes Creek Chapel.
The honourary pallbearers were Bobby Locking, Dennis Olynik, Chuck Hanson, Bill Olson, Don Olson, Gordon Drennan, Richard Drennan, Christine Hayes, and Sheila Brown.
The eulogy was given by Dennis Olynik.
If desired, in memoriam donations may be made to the McInnes Creek Chapel c/o Vivien Locking, P.O. Box 513, Rainy River, Ont., P0W 1L0 or to the Rainy River Hospital Long-Term Care, P.O. Box 236, Rainy River, Ont., P0W 1L0.