It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Arthur S. Eichlin at his home on April 22, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Dr. Eichlin was born in Chicago on Aug. 27, 1935, to Arthur and Irma Eichlin. Art had an idyllic childhood, growing up in the Chicago neighborhood of Norwood Park as an only child. He attended Norwood Park Elementary school and, after graduation from Taft High school, he attended Northwestern University before transferring to the University of California Berkeley and graduating with a degree in Journalism. He was then drafted into the Army and served in counterintelligence during the only time our country wasn’t at war (between the Korean and Vietnam wars). When he returned to civilian life, he became Luther League advisor at his beloved Norwood Park Lutheran Church, where he met Marian Heinz. They were married in 1968 and celebrated their 55th anniversary two days prior to his death.
Art worked as an administrator for Kiwanis International, working with youth in their Key Clubs and, later, for Rotary International, administering their foreign student exchange program. Immediately after his engagement to Marian, he headed to Nice, France, for six months (during the worst snowstorm ever in Chicago), to help set up the Rotary International conference, which was attended by thousands of people from around the world. Speaking no French, he tried to get by with his limited German. Later on, because of his extensive involvement with youth programs, he decided to return to college and subsequently earned his Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling, and Doctor of Philosophy degree in the History of Education from Loyola University of Chicago. He began his career as an Assistant Dean of Students at Loyola’s Water Tower campus, moving on to becoming Dean of Students at St. Xavier University on the south side of Chicago.
In 1976, Art moved his family to Caldwell, Idaho (pop. 17,000) to serve as the Dean of Students at the College of Idaho, a small Presbyterian college. In 1981, the family moved to Boise, where Art began working in adult education administration at Boise State University. Four years later, they made a bigger move to Billings, Montana, where he served as Continuing Education/Summer Session Director at Montana State University-Billings until his retirement in 1997. After trying out various jobs and activities to fill his free time, including working at Lutheran Social Services, he began volunteering in the Mansfield Center Medical Library at St. Vincent’s Healthcare. They quickly hired him in a regular part-time position in Guest Services there, which he thoroughly enjoyed for the next 11 years.
Church membership was always the center of Art’s life. At a young age, he was found following the pastor around at the church picnic. He was youth advisor for many years, taught Sunday School, served on church councils and many committees. He was known for his deep, melodic voice, and he often put it to good use as a lector in church.
Art loved history and his house was filled with World War II and Civil War books. He also loved trains. Art was an avid Chicago Cubs and Green Bay Packers fan. Many thanks to Terry Knapp (Henderson, Nevada), who was such a faithful friend, calling Art several times a week during his long illness, despite their longstanding Bears/Packers feud. The other love of his life was his cat, Mulligan.
He is survived by his wife, Marian; and his son, Daniel (Rebecca Summers). Also surviving are his sister-in-law, Barbara (Ron) Olle (West Chicago, Illinois); his brother-in-law, Martin Heinz (Billings); and his cousin, Linda Northwick (Georgetown, Texas).
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6, at American Lutheran Church, 5 Lewis Ave.
Donations to honor Art’s life may be made to American Lutheran Church or The Nature Conservancy of Montana, 32 S. Ewing St., Helena, MT 59601.
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