Born on October 13, 1931, Arvin passed away peacefully at home with family at his side on July 24, 2022. He was the son of Alice (Jystad) and Herbert Halvorson. He grew up on a farm near Galesburg, North Dakota in a household that included his parents, sister Helen, his Norwegian immigrant grandparents, two uncles, a widowed aunt and her son. Arvin was baptized in Stordahl Lutheran Church, part of the Lutheran Free Church. He befriended workhorses and drove them in the fields and to school. Alice, a church musician, directed Arvin and Helen as they sang together at community events. And even in later life their voices blended in flawless harmony.
Arvin graduated from Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo and Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea as a vehicle dispatcher. Although he considered farming, he felt a call to church ministry. So, along with Dave, Mo, Earl, Art, and other Oak Grove and Augsburg classmates, he completed his Masters of Divinity at Augsburg Seminary. While in seminary, he offered Twila a ride to the Twin Cities, a foretaste of their many travels to come; they married in 1956.
In 1958, Arvin accepted his first call to Sebeka, Minnesota where the three children were born. Arvin went on to serve Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield and Fron and Minnewaska Lutheran Churches in Starbuck. Before retirement, he was the chaplain at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes. In his life and ministry, he emphasized the dignity of every person, pursued their well-being, and preached and lived out the gracious gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Arvin was a strong and active advocate for senior care in the DL region.
From workhorses to tractors to pick-up trucks to vans, Arvin liked to be in the driver’s seat. Arvin and Twila relished traveling: he the driver; she the navigator. On one summer trip, with his family and his in-laws riding in a Chevrolet Impala station wagon hitched to the camper, he calmly drove through the Holland Tunnel, up the streets of Manhattan, and across the Queensborough Bridge.
In retirement, Arvin and Twila traveled to many parts of the world. In 1984, they built a log cabin on Stony Lake in Hubbard Country. There they welcomed their family with corn on the cob, walleye, and wild rice—good food, conviviality, and slow time. Even at the cabin, he drove the speed boat and pontoon, riding lawn mowers, a refurbished Prairie Gold Minneapolis Moline tractor; and he had fun when the grandchildren learned to drive bladeless mowers, his version of a go-cart.
Arvin was seldom idle, ever repairing things. He stained and re-stained the cabin logs, fixed lamps, cut down branches, paneled the walls of the new house in Starbuck, changed oil on the cars, shoveled the driveway. And he repaired people. Whether he was visiting a parishioner in their home or in the hospital, leading a hymn sing, comforting the grieving, whispering to babies, listening to heartache, his was a ministry of grace and repair.
With his broad chest, open arms, and warm smile, Arvin would embrace us with his signature bear hug. He laughed contagiously, had little patience for arrogance, and loved to eat, especially ice cream. He was the one who ate the last slices of tomato and finished off the potato chips. He crushed aluminum cans for Max’s fund-raising project, danced with Juliet’s scarves, and built card holders for his grandchildren so that they with their small hands could compete in endless games of Skip-Bo.
Arvin is survived by his wife Twila Gulson Halvorson; his son Dan (Deb) Halvorson, daughter Renee (Rand) Anderson, son Neal (Martien) Halvorson-Taylor; and seven grandchildren: Evan (Danica) Anderson-Cui, Max (Olivia) Anderson, Alese and Mara Halvorson, Juliet, Fre and Heming Halvorson-Taylor.
The family is grateful to friends who have supported Mom and Dad and to the medical personnel who have ministered to Arvin over the years. In lieu of flowers, we kindly ask for donations to FLC Foundation (Attn: Seminary Scholarship) at First Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes, MN, or to ELCA World Hunger.
At his request, Arvin’s body has been donated to UND Medical School.