Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Died of disease
Date of Service: WWI
Home Town: Shevlin
Rauk Hardware Store in Shevlin circa 1900
Arne Rauk was born April 20, 1889 in Belmont, North Dakota to Lars K. and Tilda Rauk. Lars, originally from Wisconsin, married Tilda in 1884. Tilda was a Norwegian immigrant who had been in the U.S. ten years. The couple moved to Shevlin and in February of 1899 bought a hardware store on Main Street from S. T. Odegard. Lars was a pioneer merchant of Shevlin and was a “leading citizen on all matters of public interest, well and favorable known. . .” according to his obituary. Lars and Tilda had five living children: Knute (1886), Arne (1889), Mabel (1891), Lottie (1896) and Carl (1899). The family lived in quarters above the hardware store and Arne and siblings attended the two-story frame Shevlin School.
When Arne finished his schooling he helped his father out in the hardware store. He also helped out on a 130-acre farm the Rauk family owned just north of Shevlin in Section 9 of Shevlin Township.
Arne was a tall, slender man with light blue eyes and light brown hair when he signed up for the draft on June 5, 1917. He was single and a very social person, according to the Bemidji Pioneer where he often made the Shevlin news column. “Mabel Rauk, Edna Petterson, Verna Burfield, Alf Rain, Arne Rauk, Hartvik Hanson and E. I. Gordon attended the dance at Bagley Saturday.” (Jan. 14, 1915) “Arne Rauk took a load of Shevlinites to the show at Bagley Sunday evening.” (Feb. 4, 1915)
Arne helped to organize a basketball team in Shevlin in 1908. The line-up was E.B. Lindell and Jack Hendry, forwards, Adolph Erickson and G. B. Upton, guards, Henry Hanson and Oscar Paulson, subs. Being tall, Arne himself played center. The team played other towns in the area, even Bemidji.
Arne left Shevlin on June 28, 1918 to fulfill his duty to his country. He was assigned to the 331st field artillery, Battery D, 86th Division and remained there throughout his service. After a short period of training he left the port of New York with the rest of his unit aboard the S. S. Lapland on September 8, 1918, destination Liverpool and from there to parts unknown.
Arne became very ill with pneumonia, probably due to Spanish influenza, and within five days of landing in Liverpool, he was dead. His body was buried in Liverpool and his family was notified of his death.
“Highly esteemed by all who knew him, news of his death came as a shock to the entire community,” noted the Bemidji Pioneer.
When the war ended and labor and transport became more readily available, soldiers who had died overseas were disinterred and returned to their families. Arne’s body was returned home in August of 1920 aboard the U.S.A.T. Antigone with hundreds of other deceased soldiers.
Arne’s body arrived Friday, August 27, accompanied by a military escort, where it was met by a delegation of boyhood friends and service men. They accompanied the body to the Synod Lutheran Church in Shevlin where his funeral was held Saturday, August 28, 1920. Pallbearers were Harry Gordon, Lloyd Foster, Fred Steimpges, Chester Burfield and Alf Rain. Another group of service men fired a military salute in final tribute at his grave in Shevlin City Cemetery.