Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Architect of Idaho Falls Temple dies (Arrington dies at 88 - Builder leaves his mark on area)
Idaho Falls ID Post Register 16Nov99 P2
By Corey Taule
When Woodrow Emerson Arrington arrived in Idaho Falls in 1940 to help
build the LDS Temple, he ended-up starting a life-long career and
becoming an important part of the Idaho Falls community. Arrington died
Sunday from cancer at age 88.
Born in 1911 in Salt Lake City, Arrington grew up in Twin Falls and
Montpelier Idaho before enrolling in the University of Idaho at
Pocatello in 1930. Over seven years he completed two bachelor's degrees,
in mechanical and in agricultural engineering, as well as a masters
degree in agricultural engineering and a civil engineer's license.
He worked briefly building houses in Butte, Montana before coming
temporarily to Idaho Falls to work on the Temple. Arrington was
originally assistant superintendent of construction for the Temple, but
then Birdwell Finlayson, the general contractor, died suddenly in 1941,
and Arrington found his responsibilities for the Temple expanding. "He
had a real responsibility with the temple," said former Temple president
Delbert Groberg. "He was really in charge of the business and getting
things put together. He had a real key position."
In Groberg's book, "The Idaho Falls Temple," Arrington explained the
situation, "Additional responsibilities were unloaded on me, finishing
up the other jobs under construction as well as settling up with the
subcontractors that were finishing their work on the temple and keeping
the bills paid."
The work on the Temple gave Arrington his start. In 1941 he founded
Arrington Construction, and in 1942 he was awarded the Professonal
Degree in Civil Engineering, representing four degrees in three
different engineering fields. Later that year he married Marjorie
Sherwood in the Logan Temple and then promptly started a stint in the
Civil Engineering Corps of the U.S. Navy, where he worked on several
operations, including the invasion of Okinawa.
Returning to Idaho Falls, Arrington became an important part of the
community. He served on the City Planning Commission for eight years. He
was one of the founders of the Bank of Commerce, serving on its board of
directors for 38 years, including a stint as chairman of the board.
For many years, Arrington also operated an Animal Farm on land he owned
about 10 miles north of Idaho Falls, which became a popular stop for
school children from the mid-1970s until the farm was sold three years
Even in retirement, Arrington kept building, returing to the Idaho Falls
Temple on September 5, 1983 to help figure out a way to anchor the
fiberglass statue of the Angel Moroni to the steeple of the Temple.
Under his direction, Arrington Construction built several hundred
projects, including several high-profile projects. His firm built
several schools, Idaho Falls' Civic Auditorium, the Idaho State
University Student Union, the science building at ISU, the Physical
Education Building at Ricks College and many other projects.
But several days before he died, he told former Temple president Groberg
that the best thing he built was his family. "His mind and memories
were so clear about all the buildings and the temple," Groberg said of
his interview with Arrington several days before his death. "Then he
said to me, 'the most important thing is my wife and family.' "
Obituaries in the News: Woodrow Emerson Arrington
P2 Associated Press 16Nov99
[The Arrington obituary is at the begining of several in the article. It
should appear in many newspapers that carry the Associated Press wire. -