Obituary: Edwin Warren Arnold |

Obituary: Edwin Warren Arnold

Edwin Warren Arnold
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Edwin Warren


December 21, 1935 – October 23, 2020

On October 23, 2020 the world lost a talented scientist, dauntless adventurer, curious intellectual and good friend, and the Arnold family lost a hero and leader. Ed Arnold leaves behind Mary, his beloved wife of 62 years; his sister Louisa Starkey (Lyle) ; children Sonia, Geoff (Karen) and Phil (Helen); and grandchildren Claire, Tyler, Alexandra, Remy and Anatole. He was preceded in death by his oldest son, Chris (Rosie) ,

Born in Longview, Wash., Ed was raised by parents Warren and Vira Arnold and was the younger brother of Louisa. They lived in the house Warren built. Ed also became a craftsman and developed the ability to design and build nearly anything. He was held to high standards in education and always excelled in school.

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Ed earned a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957, and later completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin. Ed met and married Mary and the children soon followed.

Although he had a storied and successful career, his legacy is more defined by adventures. As a young man he climbed the grand volcanoes and mountains in the Pacific Northwest: Rainier, St. Helens, Mount Adams and others.

Ed continued his adventures with his family. Every year some trip was planned which took the family to new and exciting places. Mary would often load up the home-built camper and station wagon with the kids, to camp around the country. They might meet Ed at the Tetons where he would climb mountains with his close friends Bob Jones and John Matter. These trips brought the children to at least 40 states in the US and many places in Canada before they were in junior high school.

Ed and Mary moved to Nyack, N.Y. in 1969 and took up sailing, which became a passion for both. Learning to sail on a Rhodes 18 and eventually buying a 33-foot sailboat they named “The Nomad”, they learned the craft. After two years of preparation, they set out a true adventure, circumnavigating the world. From 1975-1977 they sailed around the world with their family, which was uncommon even then. Home-schooling the kids and sailing together forged individual character and family bonds that define the Arnolds to this day.

Upon returning to conventional life after sailing the world, the Arnold children took to their own careers and adventures. Ed was always proud of the different paths his children took. His high standards in craftmanship and work ethic have been passed down the generations.

Once their kids had set out on their journeys, Ed and Mary focused on their “retirement”. They built a 35-foot sailboat and spent over a decade exploring the world. As those who know them would expect, they did not laze around warm and comfortable environs. They spent their time at high latitudes in more difficult sailing waters. For many years, they explored northern Europe, going as far north as Spitzbergen where they often encountered ice and stormy weather. They met many kindred spirits and enjoyed the pristine scenery. But eventually, they needed to move on. They sailed around South America. Ed single-handedly rounded Cape Horn at the end of Chile, an historic Clipper-Ship-type feat that Ed did in a much smaller craft.

Alaska became a favorite destination where they sailed for several years. One summer they took the grandchildren for month-long trips in two batches. Claire and Tyler met Ed and Mary in Glacier Bay. Later that summer Chris took Alex and Remy to visit and sail around Prince William Sound. Memories of these times are indelible in the grandchildren.

Ultimately, their sailing years came to an end. But Ed wanted one more grand adventure. He sailed around the world single-handedly, starting and finishing in Sitka, Alaska. It was meant to be a nonstop circumnavigation, but fate intervened. Ed hit an iceberg in the South Atlantic while ghosting slowly along. It damaged the boat’s rigging enough to require repairs in Cape Town, South Africa. Son Chris flew out to help Ed repair the boat get him back underway. Ed also stopped in Adelaide, Australia, and then finally back to Sitka. After this last grand sailing adventure, Ed and Mary “set the hook” for good.

But it was not an end to adventures. The two moved to Colorado to live with Sonia and Anatole. A small travel trailer was procured, and land-based adventures began once again. For two decades, driving and camping the length and breadth of the US and Canada ensued. Anatole often accompanied Ed on these adventures, going to Alaska and many other places. Often Anatole would be returned with just enough time for a shower before starting the next school year. As the saying goes, all good things come to an end eventually and one day, the trailer became unstable and capsized (which is more of a boat thing).

Sister Louisa and brother-in-law Lyle made regular appearances on these adventures. Louisa visited the family in Tahiti, during the European adventures in France, and other places. And many camping trips were enjoyed together. There was always some “next place” to meet up.

In very recent years adventures became more local as Ed and Mary grew older. But Ed’s need to see the other side of the horizon remained. Now he has taken that final passage into the Great Unknown. His family and friends feel sure he is well-prepared and enjoying the trip.

Until we meet again, Ed: Thanks for showing us how anything is possible with a solid desire to do it, and the proper planning.

The family is planning a virtual memorial in December.

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