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Arlen J. Rivard, 73

Arlen J. Rivard, known by those who knew him best as AJ, will always be remembered and loved. He died suddenly on Thursday, June 13, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wis.

Arlen is survived by Jill Rivard, his loving wife of 54 years; three children: Ritchie (Dawn) Rivard, Washburn, Wis.; Mitchell T. Rivard, Hudson, Wis.; Michelle (Dan) Klatt, Hudson; six grandchildren, Abigail Klatt, Zack Rivard, Avril Rivard, Megan Klatt, Mariah Rivard, and Austin Rivard; siblings Karin (Ron) Posdal, Sharlene (Dick) Stoll, Joycelyn (Del) Tritt, Denise (Jeff) Healy, and Roger (Berni) Rivard.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilfred and Eileen Rivard, and his brother Loren Rivard.

He was born in Somerset, Wis., July 29, 1939, to Wilfred and Eileen Rivard of Rice Lake, Wis. Arlen led a long and eventful life, first as a Marine, serving both in the United States and abroad. His business and professional career began at 3M Company where he remained for 23 years, ending as national sales & marketing manager. He remained involved in business management/ownership for over 50 years. In that span of time, he was transferred and chose to move over 27 times. He always believed that "Life is an Adventure," and what a ride it was.

Perhaps the most memorable life experience of his working years was his involvement in creating the high-temperature tiles that were designed and attached to the Space Shuttle Orbiter to allow the shuttle to re-enter the atmosphere without disintegration. Arlen enjoyed telling the story of a suspenseful night spent awaiting the successful re-entry of both shuttle and astronauts. Arlen was proud and gratified to have been the first civilian ever to sit in the pilot seat of that shuttle.

He was a long-standing member of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Elks, Knights of Columbus, the NRA, and the Republican Party.

After what he referred to as "that period of life with more fun options," his most important avocation in life was to remain as patriarch of his beloved family. He believed that everyone goes through three stages in their lives: first the Learner, second the Do-er, and third as Teacher, but the stage he most enjoyed was that of Teacher. Arlen was gratified to act as mentor for many family, friends, and strangers who sought him out over the years for business and personal advice. He always tried to use empathy and enjoyed helping anyone interested in helping themselves.

His lifetime priority never changed. He always put family and friends first.

Visitation and Celebration services were held at Skinner Funeral Home, 637 N. Main St., Rice Lake. Visitation was from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, with a Celebration of Arlen's life immediately following at 7 p.m. Graveside services with military honors was held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spooner.

In lieu of flowers, donations will be made to Arlen's favorite charities.