Dwayne E. Arff

January 4, 1948November 15, 2010

Dwayne E. Arff, age 62, of Peoria, passed away peacefully Monday November 15, 2010, surrounded by his family, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was born Jan. 4, 1948 in Omaha, NE, to Elden E. and Lois (Schnack) Arff. He married Natalee Vakiner, Feb. 26, 1972 in Lincoln, NE. She survives along with three children: Amy (Johannes) Kahrs of Washington, IL, Shelley (Tom) Hebert of Chicago, Steve (Emily) Arff of St. Louis, MO, three grandchildren: Evan and Corinna Kahrs of Washington and Cameron Hebert of Chicago, two sisters: Mardelle (Richard) Bergsten, and Alane (Ron) Johns of Gretna, NE, and several nieces and nephews. After retiring in 2009 after 37 years as an engineer for Caterpillar, Dwayne established his own consulting firm. He was also a United Stated Air Force veteran. He was an active member of Salem Lutheran Church, a longtime member of the church’s book group, a member of the Heart of Illinois Via de Cristo, and was a member of the professional organization, STLE. He was an avid sports fan, enjoyed golfing and traveling, and loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. Funeral services will be Friday Nov. 19, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria. Visitation will be Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Woolsey-Wilton Funeral home in Peoria. Additional visitation will be Friday from 10:00 a.m. till service time at 11:00 a.m. at church. Cremation rites will be accorded following the services. Memorials may be made to his church or to Melanoma Research Foundation. Please view Dwayne’s life story at


  • Funeral Service Friday, November 19, 2010
  • Visitation Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dwayne E. Arff

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Mike Bima

November 30, 2010

I am saddened to learn of Dwayne's passing. He was one of the good guys. I've known Dwayne from our early years at Cat, and most recently after retiring we reconnected as we formed our new business ventures. I have always valued his friendship. May God Bless.
Mike Bima.... Caterpillar Friend

November 25, 2010

Amy, Sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Joe & Sue Staker.

November 24, 2010

My condolences to the wife & children of Dwayne, who has died at such an early age. He was a fine man and a good engineer, who enjoyed his work though, so he was successful in his short life. I had the pleasure of having Dwayne work for me in the late 70's or early 80's at the Caterpillar Peoria Proving Grounds. One of his jobs was field testing Ag tractors in California. I went with him on one of his trips and was impressed with how well he knew the farming activity, the customers he was working with, and that farming area in California. Someone above me decided that Dwayne should transfer to the Tech Center to better utilize his vehicle experience in the developmnent of vehicle components. He was not happy at the time to be leaving the Proving Grounds but I hope that in time he came to enjoy his later work also. We did cross paths a couple of times after I retired in 1990, at Rita's, the same barbershop we both went to. From talking with Rita yesterday, I can say that Rita is also sad at his passing.

Bill Saathoff

Linda Fehlau Semmler

November 21, 2010

I wanted to send my condolences to the family of Dwayne. My mother, Anita Schnack Fehlau, was a first cousin to Dwayne's mother, Lois. When we were young, my two sisters and I would go to Gretna from Omaha to visit the Arffs on their farm. We loved spending time there making potholders! We saw Dwayne, Mardelle, and Alane occasionally over the years at weddings and funerals, but eventually lost touch. I have very fond memories of Dwayne. He was always so sweet, and I always wished I had a brother just like him. His pictures show that he leaves a beautiful family behind, who I know will miss him very much. I will keep all of you in my prayers, and will always cherish my memories of him.

Heidi Evans

November 20, 2010

Dwayne was just like my own dad growing up... he loved the Horning kids just as much as his own...He was a wonderful man... I will never forget his smile and great laugh! I am so sorry for your loss....

November 20, 2010

Natalee, I was so shocked to hear of Dwayne's death. Our condolences. Have a card for you but couldn't find you address in our telephone book. Hopefully, I will see you at Barnes-Noble in the future. May God bless you and your family during this sadden time.
Dave & Judy Sutherland

Kris (Ringness) and Greg Anders

November 19, 2010

Natalee and family,
We were saddened to hear about Dwayne. May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. You are in our thoughts and prayers! Our deepest condolences.

November 19, 2010

My prayers are with you and your family. Dwayne was a very knowledgeable and caring person during my Bearing Team years. He also shared my love of theatre as he attended a number of Caterpillar plays. He will be truly missed.
Debra Bloomfield

Tom Beveridge

November 19, 2010

Dwayne's life was clearly guided by the highest principles. Utmost were those instilled by his Creator; he truly walked his talk and was always willing to go the extra mile to help others. Engineering principles guided his professional life. In a way that few can, he could see and seize opportunites and pursue them until they were achieved.
He is a true friend and I am eager to meet him again in the better place in which he now resides.

Zack Birky

November 19, 2010

Dwayne was a true servant-leader, and had a tremendous impact on me personally and professionally. I have many great memories of him, and will miss him dearly.