City Christmas trees donated in Arduser’s memory

The family of Ron Arduser donated two Blue Spruce trees to the City of Monticello to display for the holiday season in his memory. Arduser was a lifelong resident of Monticello and enjoyed caring for his trees. The Christmas trees are displayed inside the pocket park and on top of the Renaissance Center. Arduser passed away in October from ALS. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The City of Monticello was gifted two Christmas trees this holiday season in honor of a lifetime resident and longtime business owner.

     The family of Ron Arduser recently donated the trees from the tops of Ron’s Blue Spruce on their property. One tree sits inside the base of the fountain in the downtown pocket park. The other is displayed on top of the Renaissance Center.

     “Ron just loved his trees,” his wife Peg said.

     The trees on the Arduser home were planted in 1980, shortly after the family moved there.

     “Ron loved being outdoors and planting,” added Peg.

     While the bottoms of the spruce trees are starting to die off, both Peg and the couple’s daughter Angie Dutra said the tops of the trees were prime for the holiday season.

     “We do want to plant more trees,” Peg said.

     Josh Iben, owner of 151 Landscape and Construction, offered his services and cut the tops down, exactly one month after Ron’s passing (Oct. 14).

     “It is so fitting to see Ron’s trees displayed in a town he loved,” said Peg of the idea. “God works in mysterious ways.”

     Ron was devoted to his hometown of Monticello, many times working quietly behind the scenes without recognition to support the town in various ways.

     “He never asked or wanted recognition,” said Angie.

     Years ago, the city Christmas tree was displayed near Regions Bank on W. First Street. Ron would donate the use of his boom truck to help decorate the giant tree.

     “He just did things without anybody asking him to,” recalled Angie. “He just did it.”

     Peg said her husband was especially giving to their church, First Presbyterian in Monticello, and the elderly.

     “He just loved this community and wanted to help when he could,” she said.

     Aside from their Christmas tree donation, the Arduser family plans to light up one of Ron’s tall Blue Spruce trees with his favorite red lights.

     “He only ever decorated that one tree,” recalled Peg. She joked that it took them a while to hunt down the perfect star for the top as well.

     Angie said their donation of Christmas trees hopefully gives others an idea of how to give back to their community.

     “It also keeps Dad’s memories alive,” she said.

     “It’s a living legacy,” added Peg. “It’s a good seed to plant for other people to help support the community.”

     As for the overwhelming support the Arduser family received since Ron’s passing, Peg said they have just been incredibly touched by it all.

     “He (Ron) would be so humble,” she said.

     Angie said once the trees are decorated and lit for the Christmas season, for her, it would provide a sense of peace and comfort, especially around the holidays.

     “It’s neat to be able to show his grandkids,” she said.

     A sign is set in front of the tree inside the pocket park that reads: “With grateful hearts we thank the family of Ron Arduser for their Christmas tree donation in his memory. The Monticello Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Monticello.”

     With the awesome outpouring of support Angie said, “We didn’t know how many lives he truly touched.”

     Aside from the family’s donation, Peg and Angie’s employee at Century House, Emma Lubben, had a tree decorated at the south end zone of Kinnick Stadium, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Ron’s favorite Iowa team.

     “That was where Ron’s seats were,” Peg said of his season tickets.

     Ron passed away in October after a 10-month battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease/ALS. Aside from the family’s floral business (Century House), Ron also ran his own business, Arduser Electric and Construction for 42 years with his brother Dave.

     “Monticello is what Dad was all about,” Angie said.


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