ARLYN CALVIN HEMME was born on June 22, 1927 to Henry and Emma (Dibbern) Hemme on the farm in Denver Township in Rock County, Minnesota. He was baptized and confirmed. Arlyn left the farm to attend high school and pursue his love of learning, staying with relatives until he graduated from Luverne High School with honors in 1945. After graduation, Arlyn enlisted in the United States Navy and served his country as an operator of early radar until 1947, when he was honorably discharged. Upon his return, he enrolled in the University of Minnesota and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Business Administration with distinction and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with high distinction. Arlyn, “Dutch”, was an active member of the Triangle Fraternity.
Arlyn wed the love of his life, Gladys Bakke, on September 10, 1950 at her home church, Jasper Evangelical Lutheran Church. Following their marriage, the couple lived in Minneapolis, MN until Arlyn’s graduation. Upon graduation, Arlyn accepted a chemical engineering position with Union Carbide, and the couple moved to West Virginia. They initially settled in the City of Dunbar until Arlyn built the home where they would raise their family, across the mountain in the rural community of Cross Lanes, West Virginia. They lived there happily for 54 years.
Arlyn loved to read and learn. He was a detail-oriented, analytical problem solver, as well as an accomplished gardener and fruit grower. He was particularly fond of Catawba grapes and produced several varieties of home-made wine. He once earned the title of “Chief Cornstalk” during a friendly gardening competition at work when he grew gigantic corn plantings that landed him in the monthly “Carbider” newspaper.
Professionally, Arlyn was involved in projects that had national and worldwide implications. He was involved in experimental coal to liquid fuel conversion technology and in development of chemical components used by the first commercial plant to produce the insecticide known as “Seven”. Arlyn also participated in hosting a United Nations delegation of engineers from around the world in the 1960’s, with representatives from a wide variety of nations and religions. Arlyn spent his entire career at the Institute, West Virginia plant and was well respected for his historical and technical knowledge of the facility.
While in West Virginia, Arlyn and Gladys were devoted members of St. Pauls Lutheran Church where Arlyn was active in council, church choir and as a Sunday School teacher. They accumulated a tremendous and loyal circle of friends with whom they shared their life experiences while in West Virginia. In 1992, Arlyn and Gladys began spending the summer months with family on Lake Cowdry near Alexandria, Minnesota. In 1996, they invested in property that would become their full time spring and summer retirement on their beloved Lake Mina, also near Alexandria. During this time, Arlyn volunteered at the Runestone Museum as an interpreter and tour guide of the various Runestone exhibits.
In 2006, Arlyn and Gladys returned full time to their roots in Rock County, Minnesota, living on the Good Samaritan Campus in one of the twin homes. He and Gladys continued to visit Lake Mina during warm months to enjoy time with friends and family but spent most of their time in Luverne. While living in Luverne, Arlyn volunteered with Lutheran social services taking elderly shut ins for rides in the country. He was also known as “that guy on the Hoveround”, as he traveled every day from his home to visit Gladys at the Mary Jane Brown home.
In January 2017, Arlyn became a resident at Poplar Creek Assisted Living Facility and in January 2018, he became a resident of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. While there, he enjoyed puzzles, activities and card games to keep his mind active. He died peacefully on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, surrounded by family, age 91 years, 9 months and 11 days.
Arlyn is lovingly remembered by his four children, Diane of Ladera Ranch, California, Dwight (Audrey) of Chaska, Minnesota, James of Cross Lanes, West Virginia, and Douglas (Jenny) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; five grandchildren, Adam, Jonathan, Claire, Morgan and Connor. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Gladys; infant daughter Deborah; two brothers, Glenn (Irene) and Russell (Elsie); and his parents.