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