August 15, 2013
KENNETH D. ARNOLD
(6/5/1933 - 8/4/2013)
Kenneth D. Arnold, Sr., 80, of Grand Forks, ND passed away Sunday, August 4, 2013 at his home in Grand Forks with his oldest son, Ken and his daughter-in-law, Dixie by his side.
Kenneth Dale Arnold Sr. was born June 5, 1933 in Arbela, MO the son of George and Matalee (Brookhart) Arnold. He left the family farm at the age of 17 and enlisted in the US Air Force in April 1954. He was one of the original "boomer's" - boom operator. He trained on B-29's and flew on one of the first KC-97's. Years later, he was a boom operator on the KC-135 tankers.
He married a young woman, named Alice Mae Smith, in 1955 in Salinas, KS. As the list of bases he was stationed at grew, so did his family. From Little Rock, Sheppard, San Antonio, Homestead, and finally Grand Forks, where he spent the last 12 years of his career. There were numerous TDY assignments including the Azores, Iceland, Guam, Vietnam and many other 60-90 day "layovers". We were an Air Force family that got an education first hand. For example, we were at Homestead during the Cuban Missile Crisis and observed the missiles first hand along the highways. We learned about alert pads, cocoas and places like Kaduna and Kvlevik. Ken's first love may have been the Air Force but his family benefitted from that love and he shared his experiences in so many ways. Back in the day before the copy machine and collators, there were the Arnold children. They would go to the parachute room and collate hundreds of pages of the daily ops schedules for the base that were lined up on the chute tables. We go to see restricted places such as the Command Post.
Ken's warm smile and great story telling ability will be missed. His stories were enriched by the many 35 mm slides he took of his experiences. Even those of the United States flying missions over Vietnam, when the U.S. was not "officially" involved or supporting South Vietnam. He will be missed as much as his stories, not only by those who heard and watched the 35mm slides of his travels but by his grandchildren who will miss out on a great learning experience.
He taught a lot to those around him. He was a carpenter, a mechanic, a self-taught computer user beginning with the Commodore 64. One thing that can be said about Ken was that he was stubborn. Not to the point of being obstinate but to an ends that often had a point. Ken developed many friendships throughout his Air Force career and looked forward to tanker reunions. There must be one heck of a reunion going on at Heaven's gate.
Health reasons ended Ken's Air Force career and he retired and was honorably discharged from military service on December 1, 1975 at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in Grand Forks, ND. In 1981, Ken married his second wife, Arla.
Ken is survived by two sons, Kenneth Jr. (Dixie), Grand Forks, ND, James (Sally), Emerado, ND; nine grandchildren, Jeremy Dvorcek and Katrina Dvorcek both of Washington, Kenneth Arnold III, of Florida, Justin Arnold, Joshua Arnold, Joel Arnold of Michigan, Jon Arnold of Grand Forks, Zach Stavig, of Grand Forks and Michael Bauer of Grand Forks, ND; two brothers, Larry of Missouri, Gary (Pat) of Missouri and a sister Janet Shriver (John) of Iowa.
He was preceded in death by his father, George Arnold; his mother, Matalee Arnold; a daughter, Bonita M. Dvorcek and two sons, Travis L. Arnold and Cecil W. Arnold.; a sister, Eleanor Arnold; a brother, Dean Arnold; first wife, Alice Arnold and second wife, Arla Arnold.