Tribute to Arvid Adell

Arvid Adell

1935 — 2021

Photo of Arvid Adell

Arv Adell embodied wisdom and playfulness. They were his mainstays and much of what made him a delight. When we met Arv, whether at a North Park homecoming football game or a Despair Club meeting, or on the golf course, we (and we bet you as well) began to smile before a word was spoken and smile now at the thought of it.

Many friends of Arv and Karen gathered at the Country Club in Rockford, Illinois, for Arv’s Pre-Memorial in October of 2015. He wrote about it in the Pietisten article, “Why Not a Memorial Service Ahead of Its Time?” For good humor and fresh, surprising insights, fourteen other of Arv’s Pietisten articles are available online. For example, who but Arvid could write “Jesus’s calling to become a Cubs’ fan.” You can also read his remarkable sermon, “Stuff that Lasts for Fifty Years.”

Arv’s love of wisdom led him to graduate studies that included North Park Theological Seminary, the University of Edinburgh, and Boston University, where he earned a Ph.D. He became professor of philosophy at Millikin University and his students loved him. He performed 500 weddings.

Dr. Adell was a natural in just about everything: sports, music, scholarship, and friendship, to name a few. One of Arv’s North Park Junior College classmates had this to say:

“Back in the fifties at North Park College on Foster and Kedzie in Chicago there were three qualities that every student yearned for: musical ability, athletic talent, and smarts. Many of us hoped for just one of them. A few blessed souls had two. They sang in the choir and had an A- academic average or were philosophy majors who also ran the quarter mile. To have all three meant only one thing: you were Arvid Adell, North Park Choir member, basketball starter, and on top of that a brain. After North Park, Arv’s long life of love and service — as partner, parent, pastor, and professor — fulfilled his early promise. And through those years his sense of humor and his lively spirit overshadowed even all those other remarkable talents.”

Just being with Arvid and listening to him through the years, one realized how much knowledge and wisdom a life of studying philosophy and theology had brought to him. His deep life-long love of Karen and of their children, Jani, DeeDee, and Mike, were as rich and rewarding for Arv as was his remarkable professional record.

Arv’s life is a lesson in how to play life’s positions well and faithfully. Blessings on Karen, the family, and the many friends who miss him.

— Old Friends

“Ah, let us be true to one another.”
– Matthew Arnold

Odd, how the mind confounds the heart
Far truer words, it would convey
Yet tongue wags on and never starts
The wiser thoughts it meant to say
But pals are true and read the soul
Even when bland words confuse
Your safe with friends, if all be told
The whole of you, they’ll never lose

– Art Mampel