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The world lost a jokester, but Heaven gained a comedian on April 18, 2018. Robert (Bob) A. Arnold, 79 of Methuen, left this world peacefully at home while entering the arms of Jesus after a long battle with myelodysplastic syndrome.
Bob was the son of the late Oscar A. and Margaret (Jackson) Arnold of Andover. He grew up in Andover and summered at Seabrook Beach in NH with his younger sister Priscilla (Arnold) Burgiel of Rockwall, TX. He was a graduate of Babson College with a degree in Business. Shortly after his graduation, he spent eight years in the Army National Guard. He was called up to active duty during the Cuba Missile Crisis. He sat on a plane for 23 hours waiting to see if they would be sent to Cuba. Luckily, that was the extent of any action for him in his time of service. Following this time, he worked with his dad for many years at Arnold Motors selling new cars. He later opened a used car dealership, Arnold Motors Company, in South Lawrence where wooden nickels were handed out in abundance. During this time, he was very active in the Exchange Club in Lawrence, where many great friends entered his life.
Bob married Sandra (Stewart), or as he would say, “the love of my life” in 1982. Together they raised their two daughters, Laura (Arnold) Zappala of Haverhill and Deborah (Arnold) and husband William Rice of Malvern, AR. He enjoyed the chaos of the visits from his two grandchildren, Jayden and Aria Rice of Malvern, AR.
Some of his favorite family memories were the trips to the White Mountains. Every summer he would pack up the family and head to White Oak Cottages where he would enjoy numerous adventures. His favorite place to visit was Clark’s Trading Post to watch the trained black bears.
Bob worked in many business positions throughout the area. A significant portion of his career was spent as a manager of Textron Defense Systems where he later retired. Animals and people were the highlights of his life. There was not an animal on the planet Bob didn’t embrace or try to allow into the house. He would have every animal living with him if it was allowed. His pug, Moxie, spent every morning laying by his side as he sipped his coffee. To her disadvantage he did not share. The chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, possums, rabbits, woodchucks, and birds all looked forward to the smorgasbord of food he would make sure to provide for them daily. There was never a dull moment with this man. Everywhere he went he made friends, animal or not, and made the world laugh bigger every day.
In the past couple of years Bob embraced the people he loved tightly. He enjoyed reminiscing with friends by his side or on the phone during these past couple weeks. His sisters-in-law and their husbands, Karen (Chris) Ordzie of Methuen and Jan (Kenneth) Musen of North Haven CT helped entertain his sense of humor through the years by way of rubber chickens. His nieces and nephews have hugged, embraced, laughed and talked about his love for the Red Sox with him through this time. Everywhere he went, and everyone he encountered were drawn in by his incredible heart, sense of humor, stubborn ways and outgoing personality. At Dana Farber in Lawrence, where he was being treated the past few years, he was their entertainment. Laughter became the antidote to hard situations and the staff became like family to him. If he didn't listen to his own family, he would often listen to Dr. Khitrik or Katie APN. Being with Compassus Hospice for just a couple weeks we were blessed to see how much of his heart remained even in the last days. As usual, Bob made an impact and grew quite a fan club of all the Hospice workers. He enjoyed entertaining them with his humorous ways and caring personality.
There is no doubt he has left an impression with so many along his journey. We look forward to sharing his laughter and stories to keep his memory alive.
You are invited to join us to celebrate Bob and share in some of his hilarious stories with family and friends. Visitation will be at Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home 80 Broadway Methuen, MA 01844 on Thursday April 26, 2018 from 5pm until 8pm. Bob’s life will be celebrated at St. Andrew’s Church 90 Broadway Methuen, MA 01844 on Friday April 27, 2018 at 10 am. In Lieu of flowers, Bob has requested we join in his love for animals and help support Salem Animal Rescue League at 4 SARL Dr. Salem, NH 03079. To leave an online condolence, please go to www.dewhirstfuneral.com.