Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Arvid Erlandson

September 26, 1929 - December 31, 2018
Portage, MI



Monday, January 7, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and refreshments will be served. The Rosary will be recited at 7PM.

Driving Directions

Funeral Mass

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
10:00 AM EST
St. Monica Church
534 W Kilgore
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389

A luncheon will follow in the church hall prior to burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes
901 Portage St
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
(269) 343-3663
Web Site

Kalamazoo Gospel Mission
448 N Burdick St
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-2974
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A kind, compassionate, and intelligent man, Dr. Arvid Erlandson was such a blessing in the lives of those around him. He was hardworking and driven, and although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, he was a humble man who was generous beyond measure. Deeply devoted to his loved ones, Arvid was a true inspiration to his family that grew to include his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.

The year 1929 is often remembered as the year of the historic crash of the stock market that sent our nation and much of the world spiraling into the depths of the Great Depression that lasted throughout the 1930s. Despite the trials around them, Arvid L. Sr. and Mildred (Ahlich) Erlandson were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Arvid Jr. on September 26, 1929, in Norway, Michigan. Located in the Upper Peninsula, Norway is a very small town where Arvid spent his childhood. He was the youngest of three as he was joined in his family by his siblings, Dolores and Lyle. Arvid’s father was a carpenter while his mother was very involved at their church where she was the choir director. This helped fuel Arvid’s talent for singing later in life.

In many ways Arvid was a typical young boy of his generation. He attended local schools where he walked “uphill” six miles both ways, at least that’s what he told his kids. In reality, it was only two blocks! He wanted to play football, but since his mother wouldn’t sign the permission slip he coerced his Grandma Louise into signing as she only read Swedish! After graduating from Norway High School he went on to college where he also worked on a road construction crew during the summers. Arvid was an asset at work as he was small enough to be able to crawl under the big equipment when needed. He also worked for the railroad. He sang at weddings to make extra money while at U of M and sung with a barbershop quartet. Arvid graduated from University of Michigan with his PhD and was a lifelong Wolverines fan.

New and exciting changes were in store for Arvid when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Grace, and they met at a social club through the Catholic church called the Newman Club. They played cards and Bridge there. Grace took Bridge lessons and didn’t really know others who played, although she was impressed that Arvid knew how. They also played ping-pong together, though Arv would sit down to make the competition fair. Arvid often went to Grace’s family home, even when she wasn’t there, mostly because he knew Grace’s mom would feed him dinner. He took the bus halfway there and walked the other half to save money.

As their relationship was deepening Arvid was a Naval Officer, serving as a doctor at the hospital. He was once stuck in a port during a hurricane where the crew cleaned up during the eye of the storm, but returned to the ship once the storm returned. There was also the time Arvid took a bit too long in the shower and was left to salute the officer on duty wearing only a towel - at least until the towel fell!

Arvid’s love for Grace only continued to grow, and in 1955 they were married while Arvid was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Their first son, Paul, was born there. Later, Arvid and Grace welcomed four more children including Kathy, Terri, Mark, and Susan into their hearts and home. As a family they often spent summers in the Upper Peninsula where they rented a cottage on Hamilton Lake. Arvid loved fishing together and throwing the kids off the dock into the lake. The bakery his friend owned was a favorite destination, and his friend would let the kids watch him make donuts. They usually stopped to picnic and swim in Lake Michigan for a break on the drive up.

Throughout his life Arvid was known for his extraordinary work ethic. He spent five years working for Parke Davis in Detroit, and they lived in Milwaukee for six years while the kids were growing up. It was a great place to live as they went to polo games and the zoo. They later moved to Big Rapids when he took a position at Ferris State College. In 1971 the family moved to Kalamazoo where Arvid soon became Director of Microbiology and Virology at Bronson Hospital. He also did some work for Upjohn Company out of the country setting up medical labs and taught at KVCC as an adjunct professor. Arvid enjoyed being engaged in his work and helping others find success. He sat on the Human Use Committee, providing guidance for their experimental drugs and no matter where he worked he made a point of getting to know everyone he worked with no matter their position. Arvid truly enjoyed making others feel special and was the sort of person who could get along with anyone.

Always one to be busy, Arvid was a man of many interests. He enjoyed being in the kitchen cooking for family and didn’t even mind doing the cleanup. He made his own damson plum cordial and even planted his own plum tree so he could do it right. He and Grace enjoyed making their own pasties together as well. Grace got him into golfing, and he also played on Bronson’s softball league. He was known as a card shark and almost always won no matter the game. A strong competitor, Arvid’s kids eventually refused to play Scrabble with him since they knew he would win. He and Grace were also part of a pinochle club, which started through the Newcomers Club. As a diehard U of M fan, he would take the whole family to an annual game complete with tailgating and dinner afterwards. Arvid was also a weather aficionado. His family joked that he should have been a meteorologist. Even in his final days he made sure to weigh in on the subject.

All who knew Dr. Arvid Erlandson would agree that he was truly extraordinary. He believed in giving everything his all and inspired others to get the skills necessary to live a successful life. Arvid was deeply devoted to his family, and although he enjoyed many things nothing was better than being surrounded by his family and friends. Dearly loved, he will be forever missed.

Dr. Arvid L. Erlandson, of Portage, was born to eternal life on December 31, 2018. Arvid’s family includes his wife, Grace; children, Paul (Jan) Erlandson, Kathy (Peter Sternisha) Chuhran, Terri (Kerry Getman) Negri, Mark (Alice) Erlandson, and Susan (Bryan) Duff; grandchildren, Erin Warnez and Chris Erlandson, Brandon, Jesse and Megan Chuhran, Tyler and Melyssa Negri, Maddie, Emma and Claire Erlandson, and Andrew, Austin and Allie Duff; and many great-grandchildren. Visit with family and friends on Monday (JAN 7) from 5-7- p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A Rosary Service will be held at 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Monica Church, 534 W. Kilgore, Kalamazoo with a luncheon to follow and burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes or Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.