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"Pete' Arend, former golf champion

Ernest A. "Pete" Arend Jr., once a noted golfer, race car driver and "St. Petersburg's golden boy," has died at age 63.

Mr. Arend, an investment broker, died Monday (July 22, 1996) in the emergency room at Columbia University General Hospital, Seminole. He was taken to the hospital from the Arbors of St. Petersburg, where he had been a resident since January.

The former amateur golf champion had undergone a quadruple bypass operation in January and had struggled for years with juvenile diabetes, his former wife, Joan Arend, said Tuesday.

The diabetes cost him some of his sight and forced him to cut back on the game he loved, she said.

"He was St. Petersburg's golden boy there for quite a while," Mrs. Arend said. "He had his own lifestyle."

Mr. Arend, who occupied himself managing the investments of his family as well as of clients, "was always dabbling," Mrs. Arend said. "He was not a 9-to-5 guy. He played golf. He raced cars. He built boats."

The winner of virtually all of St. Petersburg's amateur golf titles in a three-year period in the early 1960s, Mr. Arend's other passion centered on his record-setting race car, the Mongoose, a Dodge-powered one-time Corvette. Voted the best engineered car in its class at the 1965 National Champion Drag Races sponsored by the National Hot Rod Association, it set a speed record for its class of 133.72 mph.

In 1968, he donated the car for a fund-raising auction by WEDU-Ch. 3.

The son of an architect, he came here as a child from his native Red Bank, N.J. A student at Admiral Farragut and Florida Military academies, he showed promise as a golfer at Lawrenceville Prep near Trenton, N.J. As a junior, his team won the Eastern Interscholastic Championship.

At the University of Virginia, where he majored in finance, he was soon the school golf team's No. 1 player. In 1954, he finished a stroke back while Arnold Palmer, then a Wake Forest Deacon, set the Atlantic Coast Conference meet record (36 holes) of 142.

The following year, Mr. Arend, the team captain, broke Palmer's record with a 140 for the ACC title.

For several summers, he followed the PGA circuit and won amateur championships at Tucson, Ariz., Baton Rouge, La., and Pensacola. Many times the champion of the Deal (N.J.) Country Club, which his father built and once owned, he won the National Tourney of Club Champions at St. Augustine in 1957.

Mr. Arend was a member of the National Hot Rod Association and Lakewood Country Club and formerly belonged to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Survivors include a daughter, Meighan Arend Scott, St. Petersburg; two sons, R. Bruce Arend, St. Petersburg, and Stuart Vargo, Birmingham, Ala.; and two grandsons, Christopher and Alex Vargo, both of Birmingham.

Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at David C. Gross Funeral Homes, Central Avenue Chapel, 6366 Central Ave. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Red Bank.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the American Diabetes Association, 1101 N Lake Destiny Road, No. 415, Maitland, FL 32751-7105.

_ Some information in this obituary came from Times files.