Elliott “Bill” Orman Arnold of De Valls Bluff, Arkansas went to be with the Lord, December 28, 2017, while walking on the De Valls Bluff Rail Trail that he helped to establish. He was born in Oregon City, Oregon, September 19, 1939. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sharon Lee (Owens) Arnold.
Bill never met a stranger. His life’s calling was helping people. Having inspired thousands of youth in Arkansas, Coach Arnold was a positive influence throughout the area. He molded his students and players into leaders with strong courage and character. Bill encouraged all to become their very best and not let challenges overcome their hopes and dreams.
Bill was a teacher and counselor for over 40 years in De Valls Bluff (since 1976). Marianna, Tallulah, Louisiana, Aurora, Illinois, Carlin, Nevada and Bly, Oregon. Bill was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church in De Valls Bluff. He is the namesake and recipient of the Bill Arnold Hall of Fame Award from Allen Childress.
Bill grew up in Portland, Oregon. Playing baseball and basketball, he spent a lot of time at Wallace Park and was in and out of several foster homes.
While stationed at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe, Hawaii, he met Pastor Ernest Mosley who changed the course of his life by leading Bill to the Lord and told him about Ouachita Baptist University and Coach Bill Vining. Bill arrived in Arkadelphia on the Rock Island train with two military duffel bags and a G.I. bill. He was a walk-on basketball player, known for his “hook shot”. He met the love of his life, Sharon, on a blind date at the university cafeteria. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in History from OBU in 1967.
Bill coached Buddy league and Little League Baseball, PeeWee Football, AAU Basketball and high school football at Tallulah. He was under the tutelage of legendary Illinois High School, Coach Ernie Kivisto, who won more than a 1,000 basketball games. He was also a speaker and coach at the “We Believe!” Basketball and Life Skills Camp.
Bill served as a medic in the U.S. Navy (attached to the Marine Corps) and Army National Guard. His overseas duty was on the U.S.S. Orleck Destroyer during the Vietnam War era.
Never slowing down, Bill obtained a Masters of Educational Counseling at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2003.
Bill served with many organizations: De Valls Bluff City Council, Commander of Lumpkin Hill AmericanLegion Post, President of De Valls Bluff Chapter of Kiwanis International, President of Carlin, Nevada Chapter of U.S. Jaycees Foundation, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Levee Board District (De Valls Bluff), Lonoke and Prairie County Library Board Member, Moving Prairie County Forward, Ruritan National, Lion’s Club, High School Beta Club Sponsor and Family Motor Coach Association.
He traveled to every state and internationally to China, Norway, Philippines, Israel, and Japan.
Bill is a Ouachita Gold Tiger, his namesake is memorialized at the Ouachita Baptist University Communications Department with the Bill and Sharon Arnold Multimedia Room. Both sons, former OBU Board of Trustee Member Curtis Arnold and Major (Retired) Johnpaul, “JP” Arnold attended Ouachita Baptist University.
Bill was preceded in death by his mother, Margaret Louise Olson; his father, Curtis Frank Arnold; his foster parents, Dorothy and Russ Jorgensen, and sister, Mary Ann Ettlin.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon L. Arnold; sons, Curtis and Johnpaul Arnold and their wives Nancy and Amy; Sister, Carol Ann Cavitt; sister, Lynn A Bush; nieces, Elissa and Andrea Bush. He is survived by eight grandchildren Isaiah, Georgia, Claire, Olivia, and Avery Arnold, Erin Tompkins, Hunter Tompkins and Dallas Tompkins.
Viewing will be at First Baptist church of De Valls Bluff from 2:00 to 5:30 P.M., Saturday, January 6, 2018. The funeral will be held at 2:00 P.M., Sunday, January 7, 2018 at the De Valls Bluff Gym. The interment and military honors will be at the Oakland Cemetery, De Valls Bluff, following the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the 2018 “We Believe!” Basketball and Life Skills Camp. Mail tax-deductible donations to The Arnold Family Foundation 423 Biscoe Street, Biscoe, Arkansas 72017.
“A father to the fatherless, God is Holy.” Psalm 68:5
3 thoughts on “Elliott “Bill” Orman Arnold”
Bill was a special person that touched many lives in a positive way!
I have been blessed to call him Friend!
Johnny T. Larkan
Some have said that “Good things come in small packages.” Diamonds are usually considered such an example. And when it comes to people, Bill Arnold was a diamond even though he may have been considered small in stature. I had the privilege of teaching with him for a couple of years at DeValls Bluff and I have since witnessed the tremendous support and philanthropy that he and his family have given to DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, and Arkansas over the years. His obituary just scratches the surface of what he did with his extraordinary life in serving others, his family, his church, and His Lord. Limited space will not permit me to amplify his remarkable contributions, but may I please note just one example that demonstrates Bill’s creative ingenuity when confronted with challenges. As I remember the story, early in Bill’s teaching career in a large district in another state, he was unexpectedly assigned to teach a higher math class, something like calculus. The problem, as Bill confided years later, was he didn’t know “beans” about higher math, calculus, trig, or whatever it was. Nevertheless, he cleverly devised a strategy that he hoped would get him through a semester, if not the whole year. The strategy was to quickly identify the brightest students, which he was able to do with quick background research and from carefully observing the students the first few weeks of class. Then daily he began putting about five of those students at a time at the chalkboard before the class to work out the assigned homework questions or the questions brought up in class. If a majority of the top students worked the problem the same way, Bill surmised they were correct. Then he would deliberately and clearly say to the whole class, “Now does everyone clearly understand each step as to how the correct answer was derived?” If someone didn’t, Bill had a student demonstrate the process again. Long story short, Bill’s phenomenal instructional methods not only worked well enough to get him through the year, but at the end of the year, he was named “The Math Teacher of the Year” for the entire district, because his students were ranked at the top.
DeValls Bluff and Prairie County have benefited much from the Bill Arnold family. Bill’s legacy will be dearly cherished by all who knew him.
May God’s Word and His Holy Spirit (the “Comforter”) provide strength, comfort, and assurance to this wonderful family in their time of sorrow. Billy and Gail Booth
Our deepest sympathy to the family.
Bob and Lana Guess
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