ELLINGSON – Arnold (Swede)


    ELLINGSON – Arnold (Swede). April 17, 2021.

    Arnold (Swede) Ellingson passed away peacefully at his home in Brooks, AB on Saturday, April 17, 2021. His wife and one-and-only of 60-plus years, Barbara (nee Snell), was holding his hand as a tender Willie Nelson song coaxed him to rest. Together, they overcame hardships to create a beautiful life full of family, joy, adventure and comfort. In December 2020, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

    Arnold, was born 1937 in Watson, SK. His parents, Lloyd and Ruth Ellingson, and extended family members, farmed in the region until moving to the Elkhorn, MB area in the 1950s where they remained for many years. One year during his mid-teens when the family experienced a devastating crop failure, he and his parents migrated to Regina to find temporary work in the Simpsons (Sears) distribution centre. Some of his fondest memories were from childhood, such as when his grandfather made him homemade pancakes, watching his mother stooking wheat by hand, riding his horse and buggy to school and visiting neighbours.

    His incredible work ethic was forged during this time and set the course for a productive, meaningful life that set an example for his children, grandchildren and many people who worked with him and considered him a generous mentor.

    Swede, as he was known to most, worked in the petroleum industry for over 60 years, having started as a 16-year-old drilling rig hand around Virden, MB. This is the time when the nickname, Swede, took root, although his family heritage is fiercely Norwegian. Before starting this life-long career and passion, he worked very briefly in a gold mine in Red Lake, ON.

    By the time he retired at 77-years-old in 2015, he had witnessed no less than six oil boom-and-bust cycles. He loved his work and never stopped being fascinated by this industry and, as an avid reader of the daily news, business overall. He started his career in the 1950s in southwest Manitoba, and followed the cycles west, first to Estevan, SK in the 1960s and then to Brooks, AB in the early 1970s, where he, Barb and their then young family settled, and where the loyal pair made it their home for nearly 50 years.

    From his early days working on the drilling rigs to establishing successful local divisions for leading midstream service companies, such as Site Oil Tools and Cardium-Weatherford, to consulting on downhole tool installations during his later years, there was always one constant: Swede made lifelong relationships everywhere he worked. He valued the stories they had in common or built together, and easily reconnected with friends as if no time had passed between their visits.

    What he valued above all else was his family. Barbara and Arnold were married in Virden, MB in 1960 and shortly thereafter started their family with the arrival of Ken and then Keith 14 months later. In 1966, he began working for Haliburton which he always said was his education to prepare him for a career in the oil patch. Swede later transferred to Estevan, where he coached a number of their hockey and baseball teams while they were young boys, and it was here when Krista was born.

    He was very proud of Ken and Krista, and thoroughly enjoyed his grandchildren, MacKenzie, Sarah Jane and Robert, as well as his step-grandson, Jody and his son Kaylib. He imparted his determined work ethic and love of storytelling and laughter to them, as he did to Ken and Krista.

    The loss of his much-loved son, Keith (1981), and then grandson Jody (2009) were rarely spoken heartbreaks. Arnold was also predeceased by his father, Lloyd (1966) and mother, Ruth (1987).

    Swede prided himself on taking care of his good health, and was fit and active until his recent, surprising diagnosis with esophageal cancer. He was frequently seen walking to the Brooks Museum to Cassils Road and back home, sometimes twice daily, blowing snow from his or a neighbor’s sidewalk in winter or golfing 18 holes before noon in summer.

    He will be deeply missed by Barbara, Ken and his wife, Susan, Krista and her spouse, Colin, his grandchildren, his sister, Marlene, and numerous friends and family; and he will be remembered always.

    The family intends to host a large gathering when it is allowed to happen.

    If you have a message for Barbara and her family, please visit    www.sfh.ca

    In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his name to the Canadian Cancer Society.

    200, 325 Manning Road, Calgary, Alberta   T2E 2P5: https//cancer.ca

    Cremation is entrusted to and conducted by

    Smith Funeral Home Ltd. and Crematorium, Brooks

    Funeral arrangements entrusted to:



    Condolences may be forwarded through   www.sfh.ca

    Telephone 403-362-4636 or Toll Free (866)-362-4652

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