Former Flathead Valley legislator and business owner Arnold “Arnie” Mohl died Friday at the age of 81 while at Hidden Meadows Care Home in Columbia Falls.
Mohl was born in Beulah, N.D., on Aug. 27, 1936, the 13th of 14 children.
After graduating from high school in Zap, N.D., he served in active duty with the U.S. Army for two years and remained on in the reserves for another four years before being honorably discharged in 1963. A two-year stint at Allan Hancock College in Santa Barbara, Calif., gave way to a career with the Montana Department of Transportation. He left state government work in 1973 and with two partners started American Asphalt. In 1986 he split from that partnership and began A-1 Paving with his son, Kevin, as a partner. Other partners were added, including Jim Bob Pierce, Chris Rasmussen and Mark Sandry.
A-1 Paving tackled major projects through the years, including the highway reconstruction between Libby and Troy, work on Interstate 90 in the Brady and Bozeman areas, the Swan Highway and lots of work on U.S. 2. Even after suffering a stroke in August 2000, he continued working with his partners at A-1 Paving until the company was sold the following year. Mohl suffered a second stroke in 2001.
Mohl was active in statewide and local industry groups. He served the Montana Contractors’ Association a director, vice president, senior vice president, and in 1997 was named chairman of the MCA board. In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Montana Contractors Association in conjunction with the Montana State University Civil Engineering Department.
Mohl, a lifelong Republican, was elected as a state senator in 1994 and served through 2002. His background with the Montana Department of Transportation — he joined the department in Glendive in 1959 and by 1970 was a project engineer in Kalispell — gave him insight into road issues. He served on the Legislature’s Senate Transportation Committee all four sessions, chairing the committee for three sessions.
He told the Inter Lake in a 2012 article that the legislative accomplishment he was most proud of was his 1999 bill to create a speed limit in Montana. The bill drew national attention because Montana was the only state without a daytime speed limit on its highways. The Seattle Times quoted Mohl in 1999 when he said “everyone will be more comfortable behind the wheel now that they know how fast it too fast. People were driving in constant fear without knowing how fast they can go before they get a fine,” Mohl told the Seattle newspaper.
Mohl was a longtime member of the Elks Lodge, and with his wife Maggie was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church.
Funeral services will be held pending arrangements by Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home.