ARMSTRONG — Arnold Schilling was born on May 3rd, 1941 to Jacob and Lydia Schilling in Bowdle, South Dakota, joining brothers CJ and Roland. He grew up in Bowdle, South Dakota, working in the family dairy, playing baseball, participating in band, and graduating from Bowdle Public Schools in 1959. From there, he attended The University of South Dakota where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education.
While he was in Vermillion, he fell in love with Jacqueline Gustafson, who very soon became Jacqueline Schilling. The two soon started a family, which ultimately ended up including children Vicki, Matt, and Steve. The young family moved several times, with stops in Vermillion, SD, Parker, SD, and Armstrong, IA, where they made their home for over 50 years.
The second love of Arnold’s life was teaching, and he didn’t stop until just a few weeks before his passing. He started teaching in 1961, when he took a part-time teaching job in Meckling, SD while attending USD. That part-time job started a career that would go on to span 57 years and impact thousands of people. He could see potential in everyone, and he challenged his students like few other teachers could. That said, many of his students have gone on to achieve great things. Arnold was a teacher-it was who he was. He loved it, he lived it, and by blessing others with his gifts he knew he spent his life doing what God had called him to do.
Even while he was teaching, he invested many hours in his own education as well. Shortly after moving to Armstrong, he earned a second Master’s Degree, this time in English from Indiana University, in addition to completing all of the coursework for his Doctorate.
Anyone who knew Arnold knew that music permeated every aspect of his life. He played the organ for several area churches right up the end, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to log 100 miles or more in a weekend to do so. He loved every aspect of music-practicing, performing, teaching, and even maintaining the equipment. For over 50 years he was the regional expert in piano care, taking care of hundreds of pianos during his career.
Arnold is already greatly missed by his children Vicki Russo (Bob) of Naperville, IL, Matt Schilling (Linda) of Sioux Falls, SD, and Steve Schilling (Jolene) of Plymouth, MN, his grandsons Anthony Russo of Cedar Rapids, IA, Nicholas Russo of Naperville, IL, and Ethan, Ben, and Jonah Schilling, all of Sioux Falls, SD. He was preceded in death by his wife Jackie, mother Lydia, father Jacob, and brothers Roland and CJ, in addition to many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Arnold died on Thursday, May 9th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Visitation will be Monday, May 13th from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Henry Olson Funeral Chapel in Armstrong, IA. Funeral Services will be Tuesday, May 14th at 10:00 AM at the First Presbyterian Church in Armstrong, IA, with burial to follow at Armstrong Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorials be directed to the American Cancer Society or the Armstrong Volunteer Fire Department.