Oct. 1, 2012
Gary Robert Arnold, 33-year resident of Benson, Ariz., passed away unexpectedly Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 at his family home. He was born June 2, 1942 in Johnson City, N.Y.
He is survived by wife and soul mate of 50 years, Bernetta Kay “Kay” (Green) Arnold, his four daughters, Candy Garmon (Jeff), Kris Garmon (Joel), Kim Arnold (Bill Fain) and Kiri Hall (Greg), as well as his nine grandchildren: Kelly, Jacob, Micheal, Destany and Austin Ray; Jeanetta, Kristie Jo, Kendall and Leslie Garmon. He is also the proud great-grandfather to four great-grandchildren: Alex Gammon, Hayden Ray, Braydon Shoemaker and Braxton Arthur Ray. He is also survived by his older brother Onley Arnold, of Pompano Beach, Fla., who was a great mentor and support, as well as and his favorite aunt, Beatrice Burdick, of Endicott, N.Y. He also leaves behind many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Lester Holford and Pearl Laura (Stager) Arnold, and by sisters Jane Hammerbeck, Janet Pruyne, and brother Lester Arnold, Jr.
A brilliant computer programmer for IBM Corporation for over 27 years, he began his working and family life in the U.S. Air Force, working in nuclear weapons. He was stationed first in Texas, but then his military journey took him to Lowery AFB in Colorado, where he would meet his future wife.
Gary met Kay in Golden, Colo. on a blind date, first kissing at the top of the mountain behind the Coors beer plant. He said he knew he wanted to be with Kay for the rest of his life right then because he knew he’d always wonder where she was if he didn’t. They were married on March 9, 1962 in Golden with Flo (Cossins) Eaton, Kay’s mother, in attendance.
Shortly afterward, Gary was transferred to Castle AFB near Merced, Calif., where their first two daughters, Candy and Kris, were born, in 1963 and 1964 respectively.
In 1965, Gary moved his family back to his childhood home in Johnson City, N.Y., where the young family stayed with his parents until they could get settled. Soon, he found a position at the corporate headquarters of IBM in Endicott, N.Y., where not long after, their family moved to a rental.
In November 1967, twin girls Kim and Kiri, surprised and blessed Gary and Kay with their arrival.
In 1969, Gary and Kay bought their first home on Bornt Hill Road in Endicott. A 100-year-old house in the middle of the woods, Gary and Kay created a wonderful home for their growing family. The four girls had a great natural playground and were lucky in so many ways, not the least of which was the many times spent talking with their dad. Always the messages were full of values, his desire for them to grow up as independent thinking individuals, and most of all, that of the love of family was what was most important.
In 1979, IBM transferred Gary to the Tucson, Ariz. plant. They moved at that time to what is now the family home in Benson.
In 1991, Gary retired at the age of 49 from IBM, going on to invest several years in tracing his family’s genealogy. He was able to trace back the family to our country’s foundations, including the Mayflower, and so much more.
Gary was always keen to strike up a conversation, he never met a stranger, and his warmth and exuberance for life was expressed every day in his ever-present smile. He had a huge, generous heart.
He wondered at nature, and how everything worked; suppositions about the universe were a constant point of conversation. A passionate patriot, he loved politics and will sorely miss this year’s debates and elections.
He keenly loved all kinds of music, and his children and grandchildren have carried this forward in many ways. Some of the family’s best moments were with everyone in the family living room telling stories, children on the floor, guitars strumming or someone almost always breaking into song.
He honored all four of his daughters by walking them down the aisle, and loved and respected his sons-in-law. He avidly supported all his children’s and grandchildren’s ac-complishments, attending graduations, concerts, plays and so much more.
Most recently, Gary had achieved several huge goals: Celebrating his 50th Anniversary, his 70th birthday, getting his knees fixed, and most importantly, dancing for the first time in many years with his wife to his daughters’ band at the Arena Bar in Benson, where the couple was a sensation. As he would so often say, he was “patriarch” of the family he dearly loved, and Kay was his queen.
Services will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at the Cochise Terrace performance center, The Barn, in Benson at 1030 Barrel Cactus Ridge, approximately 1 mile south of I-10 Exit 302 on Highway 90.
A procession will follow immediately after to the Sierra Vista Military Cemetery, where Gary will be honored for his military service with a flag ceremony and taps at 1 p.m.
After the proceedings, family and friends will be welcomed to come to the family home at 790 Hermosa Place, Benson 85602 to share memories and visit.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the family home or deposited to the Gary Arnold Memorial Fund at Chase Bank, Account #127655370 to help pay for final expenses.