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Roger E. Arent
February 15, 1935 ~ October 30, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
4 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Roger's family - View on Tribute Wall
Roger E. Arent passed away peacefully on October 30, 2023 at the age of 88. Roger grew up in St.Paul. A graduate of Wilson High School, he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in all four major sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey) multiple times. He volunteered for service in the Army in 1954 and was stationed in Hawai'i, where he was assigned duties as a battery clerk and reconnaissance sergeant for the 64th Field Artillery Battalion. Upon completing his military service, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and eventually chose a career in business administration.
Rog and Pat had their most memorable meeting at Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota at a dance. They both knew at that moment that they were right for each other. Pat was good friends with Rog's sister Cleola and Rog had often given both of them rides to school. Rog and Pat were married in September, 1959.
Rog accepted his first career business position at Kimberly Clark in Wisconsin and he and Pat promptly moved to Neenah in the fall of 1959. After tiring of supervisory shift work, the family moved back to Minnesota in 1962 and Rog turned his focus toward Graduate School, majoring in Industrial Relations.
His big career break came in July,1963 when he was hired by an up and coming tech firm, Control Data Corporation, to work in their HR office. He eventually became Personnel Manager in the Research and Development division. In 1970, Roger was appointed as General Manager of Personnel and Administration in the Computer Services Group responsible for overseeing abiout 4000 employees. In 1973, he was promoted to Vice President of Personnel and Administration and by 1975 was supervising about 20,000 employees. Later that year he accepted a position as Vice President of Operations for Control Data Institute, the educational branch of CDC. He was responsible for 26 institutes located within the USA and Canada. In 1977 he became President of Control Data Cybersearch, Inc. In 1980 he became the Vice President of Microcomputing Services. In 1982 he was appointed Vice President of New Market Developnent at CDC. Later that year he had the opportunity to have lunch at the White House and chaired a task force of 12 executives from Minnesota corporations whose CEOs supported the Help Start a Company Program or STAR*CO. In 1985 he received an honorary award from Governor Rudy Perpich for his work with STAR*CO. Unfortunately, CDC ran into financial trouble in 1986 due to the rapidly changing computer and software markets and Roger was released in January, 1987. His various positions allowed him to travel multiple times to Europe and the Caribbean. In a memoir he wrote in 2014, he looked back fondly at his 23 year career with CDC -- at all the projects he was involved in and all the people he worked with. Over the many years of pension checks from Ceridian, he was provided with an ongoing income which allowed him to better enjoy his retirement years.
Throughout his demanding professional career, Roger was first and foremost a family man, always making an effort to attend important events for his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Given how important his CDC responsibilities were, it is nothing short of amazing that he was present for so many of these occasions.
After leaving CDC, Rog began to find more groups to volunteer his leadership skills to help meeting the needs of active members. For many years, he was voted as moderator and was involved in numerous church committees at Mizpah United Church of Christ in Hopkins. Roger also became very active in the Power Squadron group of boating enthusiasts, meeting frequently with those members at Lake Minnetonka. When Roger became Commander of that organization in 1990, he especially enjoyed a summer boat cruise down the Mississippi River. He also volunteered with SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, an organization helping people with newer start-up businesses. These volunteers were executive business men and women who were highly experienced and successful with years of significant income. They helped less experienced business owners grow their new business income with ongoing counseling at no cost. He was happy to become chair of SCORE in 1998. Most of all, Rog really loved music and started singing bass in many different singing groups. It was definitely one of his greatest joys! He first started singing with the Mizpah Choir. He then became very active with the Mannerchor Men's German Choir (through the German American Insitute in St.Paul), the Minneapolis Commodores (a popular barbershop group), the Norwegian Chorus, and the Minnetonka Senior Chorale.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Clara Arent, and his sisters Cleola and Bonnie. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Patricia; his daughters, Cindy (William), Cheryl (Peter) and Pamela (Zulfe); his son, Russell; and nine grandchildren (Bill, Matthew, Andrew, Natalie, Cherry, Joy, Grace, Gabriel and Lily) and two great-grandchildren (Eleanor and Meyna).
For those who knew Roger, a celebration of his life will take place at Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth, MN on Saturday, November 18, 2023; the visitation is from 1-2pm and the memorial service is from 2-3pm.