Thursday, January 29, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Arne Lervick Created Twin City Foods

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Arne T. Lervick was fond of saying, "A dinner without frozen peas is like a kiss without a squeeze."

But in his half-century as head of Stanwood-based Twin City Foods, he parlayed that quip into a frozen-pea-packing firm that now handles 400 million pounds of produce a year at plants in Washington, Idaho and Michigan.

He also enriched his community, employing up to 2,000 people in harvest season and helping the unemployed. And his community involvement went beyond business.

Mr. Lervick supported the Housing Hope group that helps out-of-work people find transitional housing so they can find their way back into society. Lervick Family Village in Stanwood is named for him.

Mr. Lervick died of cancer yesterday (Jan. 28) at his home in Burlington, Skagit County. He was 76.

"He was a pillar in the community, and his company provides many employment opportunities in upper Snohomish and lower Skagit counties," said Stanwood Mayor Matthew McCune.

"He was a great guy, very unassuming and did a lot for the business and the community, but always wanted to be in the background," said Mr. Lervick's son and Twin City president, Roger Lervick of Stanwood. "He surrounded himself with good people and taught us principles."

Born to a Norwegian immigrant and his wife in Stanwood, Mr. Lervick attended school there and worked in his father's Lervick Logging Co. Later, he worked on farms and met growers and processors.

"He did the farming, he drove the trucks, he learned his way up and knew what made things tick," his son said.

In 1943, he and some businessmen bought a vacant cannery to freeze and pack peas, with backing from his father. They incorporated in 1945, naming it for what were then twin cities of East Stanwood and West Stanwood.

Mr. Lervick kept on top of industry developments, involved his relatives in the firm, and served on the boards of banks and fraternal and food-industry groups. He remained active in Twin City management until his death, serving as chairman of the board the past 20 years.

In April 1996, Twin City Foods was burned to the ground. The plant was rebuilt and reopened last year.

Mr. Lervick also lost his wife of 56 years, Ida Lervick, in July 1996.

"You can imagine his reaction to the fire," his son said. "The thing he built. . . . We're back now, and we've got full employment . . . but after losing his wife, he kind of lost interest in things."

Mr. Lervick was a member of American Frozen Food Institute and a past director of United Foods. He also was on the boards of the Bank of Stanwood, the National Bank of Commerce in Seattle and Rainier Bank.

Other survivors include his sons DeWayn Lervick of Arlington; Stuart Lervick, Stanwood; and John Lervick, Burlington; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and his companion, Geneva Sasnett, Burlington.

Services are at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 27201 99th Ave. N.W., Stanwood.

Donations may go to Lervick Family Village c/o Housing Hope, P.O. Box 7823, Everett, WA, 98201.

Carole Beers' phone message number is 206-464-2391. Her e-mail address is:

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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