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Gerard "Gary" T. Arkin

1941 - 2020


Gary was born on June 22, 1941 in West Allis, WI and lived there for 21 years with the exception of his time on active duty as a Navy Seabee. He was an altar boy during grade school and has had an unfailing faith and commitment to his God throughout his life. During high school at Nathan Hale he played football his freshman year. He was a scrawny, scrappy kid and leaned more toward wrestling and running sports (pole vaulting). He was also the school mascot, a husky named Nathan.

In the spring of his sophomore year, Gary was cruisin' with his buddy and passed Peggy walking with a mutual friend. They 'picked her up off the street' and the rest is history!


He married his high school sweetheart  on June 29, 1963. They spent 57 years together, raising the combined family of 17 (their own 12 children and Peggy’s sister’s 5 children) through many twists and turns. Peg and Gary began their trek westward from West Allis through Franklin and Muskego to Big Bend where they stayed for 20 years. 1990 brought a move further west to the Madison area to bring the 4 nieces and a nephew into their family due to their parents deaths from brain tumors. These 17 children and their spouses have become very unique adults, largely because of Gary's influence during their time together. As the house emptied out, they made the decision to build a home east of Madison in Cottage Grove. Peg and Gary then found their forever home at Cedar Community in West Bend where Gary has enjoyed 18 months making new friendships, able to cruise the hallways and grounds with his scooter.

Gary began his working life at age 11 as a paper boy, eventually becoming Station Captain in his teens.  He retired after 40 years as a Journeyman Electrician, he began as an apprentice at Lemberg Electric in Milwaukee and finished his career as an HVAC Specialist. Always a strong Union member, he was able to provide for his large family, never unemployed, even though needing to change employers several times. Throughout these years he gave Peg the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. Gary's favorite retirement activity during the first four years was to grab a couple of buddies and day trip throughout Wisconsin or hop a train to one of the kids' homes across the country. He enjoyed part-time jobs, on his terms, for another 10 yrs until his stroke in 2014.


Gary was always a leader: in his family, occupation, church, Scouting and in village government. Throughout the 70's and 80's as a Scout leader, he taught the boys, and sometimes girls, life lessons and to love the outdoors as he did and how to safely enjoy it. He gave 12 years to Big Bend, 6 as a trustee, then 6 as Village President.

Gary died peacefully in his sleep on May 28, 2020 at the age  of 78.  The evening before,  he was able to enjoy laughing with his children and grandchildren scattered all over the country  via a virtual gathering. Gary had such a profound impact on so many people in each of our five communities of residence. He will be dearly missed and remembered. 


"Gary On" everyone...

He is survived by his loving wife Peggy and children David (Anni), Cris (Jay) Walkowski, Mike (Chris), Jeff (Laura), Greg (Jodie), Andy (Sarah), Mary (Paul) Walkowski, James (Jeanine) Stellpflug, Becky (Chris) Pracheil, Wendy Stellpflug, Angie (Ed) Lemar, Katie Stellpflug, Joe (Shelby), Abby Stellpflug, Steve (Bree),  Carrie (Emily) Stellpflug, and Megan (Jake) Stern. He is additionally survived by his siblings Bill, Cathy (Steve) Heebsh and Joe (Liz); in-laws John (Karen) Noll, Tom Noll, Jim (Cindy) Noll, Patty (Dan) Kopp, 30 grandchildren, one great grandchild on the way, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. Gary is reunited in Heaven with his parents Jerry and Dorothy Arkin, in-laws Bill and Louise Noll, sisters Mary Lynn Brotherhood and Betty Staudacher, and in-laws Greg Staudacher, Jim and Jean Stellpflug, and Bev Noll.


In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Cedar Community Philanthropy, 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095 or made online at


Private funeral services will be held at Holy Angels Catholic Church in West Bend.  Private interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Service streaming and additional information can be found at

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