A lifetime Mohawk resident, Dennis (“Denny”) Arndt, age 76, beloved husband of Janet (Mumford) Arndt, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at the Siegenthaler Center, New Hartford, with the love and support of his family by his side.
Denny was born in Syracuse, NY, on January 29, 1947, son of the late David and Dora (LaFave) Arndt. He attended Mohawk schools, where he was a star wrestler (and where, years later, he coached Pee Wee wrestling). After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and then served as a reservist in the National Guard, from which he was honorably discharged in 1974. After brief employment as a woodworker for the Library Bureau, Denny began a 30-year career as a self-employed interior contractor specializing in cabinet making, building a well-known reputation throughout the Mohawk Valley and beyond as a master craftsman. Though he “retired” in the early 2000s, Denny had a tireless work ethic, and he never stopped building, as he helped countless friends, family members, local business owners, and town employees with woodworking projects big and small. Perhaps his proudest contribution was the construction of the cupola atop the gazebo at the town park near the Fort Herkimer Church.
Those who knew Denny—and there were many—will remember him as a playful jokester and a formidable storyteller. Despite his small stature, he could fill a room with his youthful sense of humor and his tall tales (which just got taller). And he rarely missed an opportunity to enjoy his time with friends and family, whether over morning coffee with “the boys” or a beer (or two) with his beloved neighbors, family cookouts and cider-pressing parties, events at the American Legion, summer camping trips, or the many trips he would take over the years to visit his kids and grandkids (who worshiped him because he was a kid just like them). He hated “missing out,” so he rarely did.
But behind all of Denny’s jokes and pranks was a generosity from which so many in his life benefited. Though he was dedicated to his work, no project was ever more important than being there for his kids, at school activities, band competitions, sporting events, or at home when something needed fixing—or when fun needed to be had. He never hesitated to help a friend or neighbor repair a broken this or that, and he was never short on good advice—even if it wasn’t always solicited. And, like any good craftsman, he gave back to the community he loved by helping to build things for others that would ultimately outlive him.
Just as Denny derived great pleasure from his “indoor” time with family and friends, he found real moments of joy in the great outdoors. He was an avid hunter who, for decades, cherished his time in his backwoods hunting for whitetails (while enjoying his coffee and pepperoni). He was also an enthusiastic angler who was happy to cast a line into any body of water deep enough to hold a fish. But he was most nostalgic about the nearly three decades of memories he had built fishing for northern pike with family on Long Lake in the Adirondacks. The fish in the stories from those adventures are now as big as whales–in true Denny style.
Denny is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Janet (Mumford) Arndt. He will also be missed dearly by his two devoted and loving children, Brad Arndt and wife Sarah Hall of Pelham, MA, and Kristin Miller and husband David of Clifton Park, NY, his adored grandchildren Will and Lily, and cherished best friend and father figure Joseph Vespasiano (“Mr. V”) of Little Falls, NY. His brother, Donald Arndt, and his brother-in-law Waldo Lyon preceded him in death, and he is survived by his sister Donna Lyon of Dolgeville, his nieces Renee Arndt and Val Lyon Johnson, his nephews Patrick Mumford, Paul Mumford, Wally Lyon, and their families, and his brother- and sister-in-law Ray Mumford and Rita Arndt. Denny enjoyed a very special relationship with his neighbors on Marshall Avenue, whom the family would like to thank deeply for their friendship, care, and support of Denny, including Carol Brown, Cory and Amy Cool, and Erik and Kelly Lowell.
The family would also like to thank all the wonderful staff at the Siegenthaler Center for the exceptional care, companionship, and comfort they provided Denny, as well as the special ceremony led by Wally Plock honoring Denny and his military service after his passing. Please consider an online contribution to the Siegenthaler Center in Denny’s name.
The Arndt family has placed arrangements under the direction and care of the Little Falls-owned Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations, 7507 State Route 5, Little Falls, 315-508-5131. There will be no calling hours.
The family invites friends and family to join them for a Celebration of Life for Denny on Sunday, October 15, from 1:00-4:00 pm at the Mohawk American Legion, 43 W. Main St, Mohawk, NY 13407.