In Memory

Peter Arne

Peter Arne

Date of Death:   April 16, 2015

Place of Death:  Tucson, Arizona

Cause of death:  Heart failure which had afflicted him for several years.

Family:  Daughter Laura, born in 1964,  who lives in Madison, Wisconsin

Skip's life:

The HPHS Class of 1959, as is evident from the biographical material on this website, is a bunch of super-achievers by any measure.   We have lawyers, doctors, college profs and millionaire investors.  But there is only one member of our class who can lay claim to achieving the dream of every high school boy who imagined himself, microphone in hand, the band knocking out hot riffs, the girls in the front row screaming his name, as a legitimate rock star.  Right about the time most of the class of 1959 was preparing or college or looking for a first job, "Skip" (That's what everyone called him)  Arne and his three-piece band, named "The Dukes," was touring the night clubs and auditoriums from North Chicago to Wisconsin and all the way to Iowa, putting on rock performances that were sufficiently popular for Dot Records to produce two 45-RPM records featuring the group.

The recordings were what the record industry calls "covers" of two Elvis Presley hits, "Sunshine and Rain" and "Angel."   Dot guessed correctly on the style of music where Skip's talent shone most brightly.  There is a distinct Elvis quality to his singing.  The thing that's nice about the two records Dot produced is that they mean we can listen to Skip on Youtube just as he and "The Dukes"  sounded in 1964..  Skip's daughter Laura proudly posted a comment on the Youtube page, saying, "This is my dad singing.  He did have a golden voice."

Skip Arne and "The Dukes" barnstormed small Midwest rock venues, traveling in a Dodge van, often serving as the opening act for big name singers, for several years.  And they also had a loyal following of young people.   But the popularity wasn't enough to earn a living off of, so Skip decided to launch a career in business.  He founded a trucking company in Madison, Wisconsin, and also got the contract to deliver the Wall Street Journal in several Wisconsin cities.  He gave up performing to devote full time to the business.

Eventually, as the retirement year beckoned, Skip decided to move to Tucson, Arizona, where he could take life easy in the sun.  The change in location meant he could dabble in show business again.  He started producing karaoke shows at the Tucson  AMVETs post, and could even be encouraged at times to take mike in hand and sing a few songs.  He did some work for a local country club and spent many days playing golf.  When he was entertaining with his karaoke shows, fans would often seek him out to ask for copies of one or both of the records he had released.  He was always willing to help make a CD for them.  Unlike some rock music, there's a haunting quality to the lyrics of "Sunshine and Rain."   Skip may be gone, but this music will live on.

             "I never know from day to day...are you going to give your love or take it away.

               But there's one thing I've learned, and I'm making it plain; that my heart will still be

               True through sunshine and rain."







Sally- I didn't know Richard well but as a Bannockburn kid , knew Skip Arne and am sorry to hear this news about both of them. Thanks for letting us know. 


Felt sad today to read of Skip Arne's passing; he was a neighbor up the street and classmate at DGS.  My deep sympathy to his sweet younger sister, Karen; I wonder where she lives.  I appreciate, Richard, your telling Sally.


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06/01/15 07:22 AM #1    

Sally Stillson (Bartlett)

Richard Stirsman and Peter (Skip) Arne were both classmates of mine at Deerfield Grammar School (DGS). Richard has kept in contact with me since the 50th reunion and notified me of Skip's death. I notified Eric Engberg who was the head of our student-finding committee and he has gathered some information on Skip's life and hopefully will post some of it here.

06/06/15 12:34 PM #2    

James Clyne

I remember Skip when I lived in Deerfield, a couple of centuries ago, (just kidding). I left Deerfield when I was 16, graduated from Santa Monica High; attended Northwestern U and UCLA. Over the years I would return to Deerfield when I was in Chicago on business and I ran into him a long time ago. He was always a mellow, nice guy.

James Clyne

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