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For week ended November 21, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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LDS Architect of Idaho Falls Temple dies (Arrington dies at 88 - Builder leaves his mark on area)

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 ago.

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.' "

See Also:

Obituaries in the News: Woodrow Emerson Arrington P2 Associated Press 16Nov99 S70P2LBO0

[The Arrington obituary is at the begining of several in the article. It should appear in many newspapers that carry the Associated Press wire. - Ed.]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information