Richard L. Arends

MELVIN — Richard L. Arends, 93, formerly of Melvin and Loda, died Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, at Amber Glen Special Care Center in Urbana. 

A celebration-of-life service will be held this spring at the Melvin United Methodist Church in Melvin.

Mr. Arends was born April 10, 1925, in Melvin, beloved son of Iva and LeRoy Arends. He married Lois Marilyn Siron on Aug. 19, 1956.

He was a devoted husband of 62 years to Lois Arends of Gibson City. He was a loving father to Rod (Louise) Arends of Champaign, Barbara (Steve) Swanson of Hinsdale, Janet (Al) Schwartz of Glen Ellyn and Tom (Melanie) Arends of Gibson City. He was a grandfather to Allison, Hayley and Quinn Arends, Steven (Amanda) Swanson, Michael (Sarah) Swanson, Sarah (Jack) London, Charlie (Katie) Schwartz, Amanda and Olivia Schwartz, and Kelly, Carson, Brian and Holly Arends. He was a great-grandfather of Chase and Shevi Arends and Blake and Michael Swanson. He was a brother to David (Gynell) Arends of Kewanee.

His brother Phillip (Wanda) Arends preceded him in death.

Mr. Arends enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps V5 program in May 1943, a month before he graduated from Melvin High School. After spending one semester at Purdue University, waiting to attend the flight program, he went to Oklahoma, Washington and Florida for training as well as Alemeda Naval Air Station. Overseas he spent time, as a flight engineer, on a PBM Mariner, in Okinawa, Johnson Islands, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sasebo, Japan and Tokyo.  He was honorably discharged on his 21st birthday.

After being discharged from the Navy in 1946, he attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. In 1950, he and his brother Phil took over the John Deere implement dealership in Melvin.

Mr. Arends was a lifetime member of the Melvin United Methodist Church. In addition, he served on several bank boards as well as being on the original board of Gibson City Hospital and the Regional Board of School Trustees of Champaign and Ford counties.

Mr. Arends was a 32nd-degree member of Sottish Rite Freemasonry Valley of Bloomington AA5R for 60 years and was also a member of the Shriners, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Lions Club.

Retiring in 1990, Mr. Arends and his wife became “snowbirds,” spending winters in Rio Verde, Ariz., for 25 years. He had a lifelong love of sports and was an excellent athlete, participating in basketball, golf and softball.  He and his wife also enjoyed dancing. Always the perfect gentleman, he brought love, compassion, strength, generosity, faith and friendship to many.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Melvin United Methodist Church, Melvin, IL 60952; or the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Anyone wishing to send condolences can do so by sending them to Mr. Arends’ wife, Lois, at the Villas of Holly Brook, 1400 N. Melvin St., Gibson City, IL 60936.

Memories and condolences may be shared at

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