Rev. A. Arthur Arvay passed peacefully into his Eternal home on Sunday, May 14, 2023 in Wooster, OH. He led a joyous and fulfilling 87 year life dedicated to loving and serving God. He will be greatly missed by his daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren and many family members and friends. His deep and abiding faith and love of God, servant heart, compassion for all people, community leadership and service, competitive spirit and generosity is his life legacy to be treasured by many.
He was born on December 19, 1935, in a country house outside of Saskatchewan, Canada, where the temperature plunged to 63 degrees below zero, A. Arthur Arvay was the second-born child of the Rev. Andrew Arvay and Mary Arvay.
Art spent his elementary and junior high years in Buffalo, NY, and his teen years in Conneaut, OH. A highlight of his youth was being an active member of Boy Scouts and attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Art enrolled in Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, and received his bachelor’s degree in 1958. While at Heidelberg, Art met Lyn Schmidt. Following his graduation, they were married in Cleveland on June 15, 1958, in a ceremony performed by their fathers. They moved to Princeton, NJ, where Art enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary. He completed his study for a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained into the Christian ministry at his father’s church in Phoenixville, PA, in June, 1961.
Together Art and Lyn raised their family of three children in Youngstown and Tallmadge. Each summer when the children were young, the family camped across the United States, visiting all 48 contiguous states and most of the Canadian provinces. Art enjoyed a thirty-five year career in the Christian ministry, serving churches in Ohio and Florida. His longest pastorate of over nineteen years was as senior minister of First Congregational Church of Tallmadge from 1963 to 1982. He led the congregation into an extensive building program and enabled them to deed the historic church on Tallmadge Circle to the Ohio Historical Society. The congregation grew during his pastorate to 1000 members and the members were able to pay off the mortgage on the new building in seven years. The church’s outreach to both the local and international community greatly expanded under his humble leadership. Art especially loved his work with the youth through fellowships, retreats, and mission tours.
He held many leadership positions in the United Church of Christ, including serving as moderator of the Eastern Ohio Association and of the Ohio Conference. He also served on the YMCA board, the drug task force, and the local ministerial association. Art was honored with the position of Pastor Emeritus for the Tallmadge church in 2000. Upon moving to Florida in December 1982, Art became senior pastor of Church of the Palms U.C.C. Delray Beach, FL. There he continued serving the local community as well as the national organization of the United Church of Christ. Over the years, Art was approached by the denomination to take positions at the state level both in Ohio and in Florida, but each time he declined, saying his passion was serving in the local church setting. He requested to work with a new church start and thus began his pastorate at Christian Fellowship in Lake Mary, FL. He was successful in merging that church with a local southern Baptist church and forming a new United Church of Christ in Longwood, FL. He told the Florida conference minister that he would be willing to work on an interim basis with a church in crisis before he retired. His final challenge in ministry was to stabilize a church in Port Orange, FL and bring the congregation into a healthy position so a new permanent pastor could be hired.
Art and Lyn moved to Wooster in 1999. Art was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ where he sang in the choir and worked with the breakfast program. In the summer he enjoyed ushering for Ohio Light Opera. In his younger years Art was an avid runner and tennis player. Those activities gave way to fitness walking, cycling, and pickleball. Art and Lyn’s love of travel and curiosity of the world’s cultures took them to more than 51 countries. He remained an active bridge player throughout his retirement years. He maintained a very close relationship with God through his daily devotional and prayer life, interceding for all who needed and requested his faithful prayers.
Art is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Janette and Jon Lindsay of Archbold, Ohio. Also surviving him are grandchildren Jayson (Christina) Lindsay of West Chester, Jennifer Lindsay of Columbus and Jessica (Tristan) Kast of Defiance along with great grandson, Benjamin Lindsay and a great granddaughter due in July. Other survivors include cousins Sandra Newton of West Orange, NJ, Nancy Parks of Pinedale, Arizona, sisters-in-law Lucy Schmidt of Wooster and Shirlie Schmidt of Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with sixteen nieces and nephews and their families.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife Lyn of 62 years, sons Alan and David, his sister and brother-in-law MaryEsther and Dick Carman, sisters-in-law Dorothea Ackerman and Lois Wenger, and brothers-in-law Paul Schmidt, Louis Schmidt, Don Ackerman, and Earl Wenger.
A memorial service celebrating Art’s life will be conducted by the Rev. Dr. Kevan Franklin at Trinity United Church of Christ, Wooster on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 11:00 am. The service will be livestreamed at www.trinityucc.org. The family will receive friends one hour before the service. A private family burial will take place in Tallmadge. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Trinity United Church of Christ in Wooster or Wayne County Habitat for Humanity.
McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.
Online condolences maybe left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com
Art lived a loving, caring life. He always had a friendly, happy, sincere “Hi. How are you?” as we passed one another walking in Deer Creek. Lyn and Art were great travel companions to us and others. He’ll be lovingly missed by so many. Mimi and Dick
What a beautiful tribute. We are so sorry for your loss, Jan and Jon. Please know you and your entire family are in our thoughts and prayers. May the loving Lord wrap His arms around you during this most difficult time.
What a very kind man Rev Art was enjoyed his friendship,God Bless
Jan and family,
We mourn with you and also celebrate the blessing and light your dad was to our family and so many.
Sending love and prayers
Jan and family,
Art had such a way of looking at the world with kind eyes. I won’t ever forget our wonderful talks about politics and religion…often in my garage during breaks from gardening. He was so good at disagreeing respectfully, and I admired that.
He is so missed.
Our deepest sympathies
Russ and Dorothy Henderson
Russ was a member of the Talmadge church.
Jan and Jon, Our Condolences to you on the death of your father. May your best memories hold you and give you strength as you grieve his loss. Blessings on you both, Dave and Beth Long-Higgins
I am sending condolences to the family. I knew Art and was a friend as well as parishioner. Sorry to miss his service but I want you to know he will be missed and I appreciated having him in my life.
A memory came to my mind as I treasure Rev. Art’s life. When I felt moved one Ash Wednesday by the Spirit to spontaneously sing, I realized “uh oh. I don’t actually know all the words to this song.” Well, the Spirit had our congregation already blessed because as I started the song, I looked out and saw Art singing clearly every word. Strengthened by him, I finished the song. It was a beautiful moment. I feel so grateful for Art’s life. Rev. Emily Howard, Trinity UCC
I will always have fond memories of Rev. Arvay … he really was a wonderful man and impacted so many lives. I frequently read and use the Bible entitled, “The Way” that he presented to me on May 23, 1976 upon my confirmation. I thank God that our lives crossed paths. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten, as he touched so many lives on this earth.
With love and prayers, Linda (Rader) Moffat
Art and Lyn always sat in front of my mother and I at Trinity. I always thought they were the sweetest couple. And I loved to hear Art sing hymns – he had such a wonderful voice. They both will be deeply missed by their church family. My condolences to the family.