Michael Arnestad
Michael Arnestad

Obituary of Michael Albert Arnestad

Born in Tacoma on February 20, 1943 to Maurie Arnestad and Pat Sweeney Arnestad, Mike died October 9, 2006. This is where Mike would have put “NUFFSED”. However, we, his family, would like to let you know a little more about the Mike we knew. Mike leaves behind his loving wife, Debby, two children Lisa (Terry) Heustess, and Scott Arnestad, three grandchildren, Connor Heustess and Victoria and Morgan Arnestad, his sister, Helen Arnestad, two nephews, Maurie and Paul Wallace and a niece, Stacie Jensen. He also leaves a large extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins from the Arnestad and Sweeney families, his in-laws, the Berg family, and many, many friends. He loved them all. Mike graduated from Tacoma ’s Lincoln High School in 1961, entering Army Reserve active duty immediately thereafter. He met Debby in 1982 and they were married in 1985. They bought his boyhood home from his widowed mother, where they lived their entire married life. Mike worked for 36.5 years at Boeing Aerospace as a technical illustrator in top secret projects: he retired in 1998. Now the good stuff. Mike had an artistic temperament, a large vocabulary and ideas about what was right or wrong. He was a meticulous, methodical person. Everything in his life was ordered and planned. He didn’t like leaving anything to chance. In one of his last communications (he wrote a note because of his tracheotomy) he instructed the nurse and Lisa about how to feed him through his feeding tube. Debby was out of his hospital room and he just knew other people would screw it up if he didn’t tell them how to do it. That was Mike. He had a way to do everything, and you’d better do it his way! He was just as methodical and ordered about his whole life. His yard was neat and clean, the lawn just so and the bushes and trees pruned. The house was tidy, the bookshelves were ordered, the records and tapes lined up just so, and the canned goods on shelves all faced the same way. Likewise, his garage was his castle, where he loved to entertain his friends, drinking beer, playing cribbage or poker, or just shooting the bull and admiring his ’38 Buick. When he cooked, the meat and vegetables were cut just so, and the food was delicious. He liked to entertain and loved to have people over, to his house, to share in his cooking and his hospitality. Mike and Debby’s corn parties were legend among their close circle of friends. When his six rows of corn were ripe, he would send out invitations with maps he made by hand. They had intricate details, mentioning landmarks and people’s houses, and updated yearly by crossing though the names that had changed on those landmarks and adding the new name. After years of corn parties, the maps were a treasure trove of historical knowledge. Mike’s life took many twists and turns: from high school he went directly into the Army Reserve, taking basic training and active duty at Fort Ord , CA , after which he put in his requisite number of years as a reservist. His children remember times with family and friends in their first house on South G Street . He loved the bizarre and had a ribald sense of humor. Lisa remembered when Boeing was on strike and he had to go down on the waterfront longshoring. He didn’t particularly like it, especially going down in the hold of the ships, but he did it. One night in particular, Lisa said she remembers him coming home early because he’d fallen in the water. He was soaked and so was everything in his wallet. He painstakingly separated each wet piece of paper and picture and placed them outside on the picnic table to dry. This longshoring stuff just wasn’t his bag and he was thankful to return to Boeing, but not without some conditions, in typical Mike fashion. He had realized during the strike that he and other technical illustrators were doing some of the same work as engineers, but not getting anywhere near the pay, so he helped organize the illustrators and pushed the union for equitable pay. They won. After Mike and Debby were married, they traveled yearly to Maui , where they loved the leisure, the views, the sun and the peace. Many of their friends and relatives would join them there for a week or two and he looked forward to these Maui trips. He sent hundreds of postcards from Maui, always in his exact, capital-letter-printing, and always sharing a multitude of information, such as, ‘the time is 8:32 a.m., the temperature is 820, the bikinis are out, I’m here and you’re not.’ He would send pictures of nearly naked girls to his teenaged nephews and pictures of naked man buns to his mother. He loved to make people laugh. Everyone knew that if Mike took pictures at a wedding or other event, there would be pictures of butts and other parts of women’s anatomy. Aunts lived in fear of bending over at the wrong time. He also liked to moon people and drop his front prosthetic tooth to shock people. Mike was never boring and he spoke his mind, like it or not. Mike belonged to the Buick Club of America, Goodguys, and the NSRA. He loved his prized Street Rodded ’38 Buick and taking it to car shows. Nuffsed. It was the license on the Buick and his mantra. A man of few words, he cut to the chase and when he was done, Nuffsed. Mike was proud of his children and grandchildren and their lives and love gave him great personal pleasure. Papa played in the sprinkler with them, shared his love of reading with them and taught them about his numismatic collection. He was generous and loving to the end, doing woodworking for each grandchild in his last months. Along with instructions on how to care for the object, of course. Written in his exact printing. Mike also hated waste. Even though he didn’t eat much jam himself, he and Debby cared for and harvested the berries, pears, and apples his parents had nurtured for 40 years before them and made hundreds of jars of jams, jellies, and fruit butter, which they gave to family and friends. Everyone they knew loved these gifts of homemade preserves and looked forward to getting them. Not one to go out on the town much, Mike preferred to entertain at his home, cooking and visiting with family and friends. Likewise, they didn’t go to movies or concerts, but thoroughly enjoyed their surround-sound television and Bose music system. Mike especially loved Mash, Red Green, and Dog, the Bounty Hunter. Sometimes during Dog, when Beth’s attributes were spilling out of her top, he would call Helen and say, “Yowzah” and hang up. Nuffsed. So, here’s what Mike liked besides his cars and family and friends: Mac(Naughton’s) and diet cola Spam Jalapenos Hot mustard Hot Sauces Cheese, especially Blue Cheese Fruit cake Sending and receiving cards Christmas decorations Rolling Stones AC/DC Led Zepplan... and humor of all kinds. Mike-isms: Nuffsed; Another day above ground can’t be bad; and, I forgot only means it wasn’t important enough for me to remember. Helen, Lisa and Scott would like to thank Virginia Mason Cancer Center, Franciscan Hospice, and in-laws Bob and Charlotte Berg for their kindness and caring. Bob and Charlie drove Mike and Debby to downtown Virginia Mason Hospital for all of his treatments and he was deeply touched by their presence. We also want to thank Debby for her constant vigilance and care during his illness: without her he would have been the impossible patient. As it was, he was only the impatient patient. So, as of 8:10 p.m. on October 9, 2006, Mike is free from his constraints put on by his cancer. He can yell, sing, eat and poop. Nuffsed. An open house will be held in his memory on November 4, 2006 from 1 p.m to 4 p.m. at the family home. Call a family member for directions. Arrangements by Edwards Memorial Center 253-566-1008
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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Edwards Memorial | University Place
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