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By Maria Lockwood, Published November 29 2007

Enbridge worker's death leaves void for friends, family

SUPERIOR, Wis. - The death of Steve Arnovich in an Enbridge pipeline fire Wednesday tore a hole in the Superior community.

“He was a prize as a child,” said Arnovich’s mother, Elaine. “A gift; a true gift.”

Her husband, Paul, described their son as “a kid without a flaw.”

As he grew from a 5-year-old practicing baseball in the back yard to a star quarterback for Superior High School, from college graduate to husband and father, Arnovich remained a genuinely good man.

“He was the best son, brother, husband, friend anybody could ask for,” said his older brother, Jeff.

“He will be missed,” said Tom Belanger, who has been best friends with Arnovich since childhood.

Family and friends said they could count on Arnovich, and his mechanical aptitude, for a helping hand.

“We called on Steve for everything,” said his mother, Elaine. “And he came.”

The Superior native was a gifted baseball and football player in high school. After graduating in 1990, he earned his bachelor’s degree in corporate health from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He married his wife, Candy, in July 1998. Their daughter, Aili, turns 5 on Saturday.

The family was a close threesome.

"His wife, Candy, said, 'What is Aili going to do without her daddy?'" Elaine Arnovich said. "They did everything together."

While attending college, Arnovich put his mechanical abilities to use working for Superior Water, Light and Power. He left an impression on co-workers there. His mother recalled one of them coming up to her at Arnovich’s wedding.

"He said, 'How did you raise such a wonderful person?'" she said.

The Superior man also built his own house from the ground up with help from a number of fellow SHS football players, including Belanger.

Arnovich began working for Enbridge about six years ago, his family said. He liked his job as welder, Belanger said, and was very methodical and safety-conscious.

The 35-year-old was one of two Enbridge workers killed in a pipeline fire Wednesday afternoon in Clearbrook County, Minn. The accident occurred while repairs were being made to the line. For some, the reality of his death is just sinking in.

"I talked to him yesterday to see when he was coming back," said Belanger, a contractor who now lives in Buffalo, Minn. The two planned to put in a garage door for Arnovich’s brother-in-law this weekend.

Belanger remembered Arnovich’s response: "I'll be there."

Friends have already been gathering around the family to lend support.

"This is the saddest thing that’s ever happened to my friends," said Ron Orlandi, who coached both Arnovich boys in high school baseball and has known the family for years. "Let’s do a little praying for them." Enbridge worker's death leaves void for friends, family By Maria Lockwood 20071129