Donald Sylvester Arnold passed away March 19, 2012, after a short but courageous battle with bladder cancer. He was born in a log cabin on Dry Creek Road on Dec. 20, 1938 to Ralph and Ida (Hyatt) Arnold. Several years later the log home he was born in was dismantled log by log and numbered in order and then moved and reassembled in the Bridgers. Don was raised in Manhattan and attended the Manhattan schools through his senior year. Basketball was his love in school; his highlight was playing Holy Rosary School with stitches in his hand and wrapped. An article by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (1958) stated that big Don Arnold scored 38 points in that game.
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On June 11, 1959 he married Constance C. Wanke. To this union they had three children. Don and Connie shared 53 wonderful years together. During that time he worked for Teslow Incorporated and then he went to work for Peter Kewitt and Cop construction. He then went to work for Montana flour mills on North Rouse in Bozeman. The company learned of his experience as a millwright and sent him to Belgrade to remodel the big red elevator into a fertilizer plant; he suggested they paint the elevator white, in which they did. After finishing the remodeling they hired him to manage the plant. The plant is still standing and in operation today. After several years of working in the fertilizer business he became known as Mr. Fertilizer Man of Montana. While Don was managing at this plant it went through several name changes, bought by Nebraska Consolidated Mills, and they later changed the name to ConAgra. Other names were Agri Basics, a Montana Division of ConAgra, United Agri Products, and CPS which is now Agrium. He was later transferred to Great Falls as an assistant to the purchasing and distribution manager. Don was sales coordinator and trained with the ConAgra salesman in the sales of fertilizer to dealers, retail outlets, and farmers. He later moved his family to Fort Benton to manage a new elevator built by Farmers Union Oil Fertilizer. After several years in Fort Benton he had an opportunity to go back to ConAgra which he pursued, moving to Plentywood, and then later transferring to Indiana and Ohio, working under their Cropmate name.
After retiring, Don and Connie moved back to Manhattan and Don went to work for Big Sky Asphalt, and then with UAP driving truck during their fertilizer season.
Don was an avid fly fisherman, spending a lot of time with his family camping and fishing at Hyalite. He loved to ice fish, work in the yard and enjoyed gardening. He waited patiently for spring to arrive to go morel picking. His passion was watching college basketball and Super Bowl Sunday.
Don is survived by his wife, Connie, Manhattan; son, Darrell (Cheryl), Fort Benton; son, Darren, Belgrade; daughter, Lori (Randy) Crawford, Miles City; six grandchildren, Monica (Lance) Squires, Apoka, Fla., Michael Arnold, Missoula, Misty (Richie) Hendricks, Ark., Taylor (Adam) Schiche, Bismarck, N.D., Zachary Crawford, Miles City, and Seth (Kaetlynn), Plevna, Mont.; and three great-grandchildren, Bryar, Brianna, Mason, and soon to be five. Don is also survived by two brothers, Bob (Mary), California, Gary (Diane), Townsend, sister Louise (Virgil) Bates, Manhattan; a very special sister-in-law, Patricia Arnold, Manhattan; and several in-laws, nieces, nephews and good friend Dick Rozon. He is preceded in death by his parents; niece, Cynthia Arnold; nephew, Scott Arnold; brothers Kenneth and Jack, his friend, buddy, fishing and hunting pal.
A celebration of Don's life will be set at a later date this summer at Hyalite. We love you; you will be in our hearts forever.
Grandpa, when I was a sophomore in high school you came and watched one of my baseball games in Bozeman. I remember after the game you came up to me and shook my hand and told me that was a hell of a game, you were so proud of me! You also stated that if they wouldn't have put in that "god damn" left hander, you guys would have probably won. After the game we met up and we went to eat at Famous Dave's. These are the memories that will always stay with me forever! You were always straight forward but you always looked out for me. Throughout the years there is only one way to explain our relationship that we had and that you will always be my grandpa! I love and miss you Grandpa! My song to you by Kenny Chesney – "Grandpa Told Me So." Love, Seth.
Uncle Don, you will be missed by many. As a young boy looking up to his uncle, I have fond memories of fishing the Gallatin below Nixon Bridge, hunting up at Gallatin Canyon in Doe Creek and camping up at Hyalite. I will always remember you tending the fish fry over the fire at Hyalite after a day's fly fishing catch on the creek. You were a man's man and you reminded me most of your dad, my grandpa, whom I loved dearly. May you rest now and know that we will all meet once again to hunt and fish the Big Sky our families' generations have been part of for more than a century. We love you and miss you, Shawn, Aimee, Garrett, Jacob and Mathew Arnold.
Grandpa, I remember you always loved to go fly fishing and have fish fries. I'm grateful Bryar and Brianna got a chance to know their great-grandpa. They enjoyed watching you work in the garden; Bryar loved eating your corn on the cob (even if it wasn't cooked). We love and miss you. Misty, Richie, Bryar, and Brianna.
Something will surely be missing this summer, Uncle Don! I will miss him coming by with Aunt Connie to check out the garden or to just say hi and visit and have a beer. I have very fond memories of fish fries up in Hyalite, dancing at my folk's house, and I will definitely miss him just giving me a hard time with a smile on his face. I love you, Uncle Don, and will see you again someday. Lisa.
Although over the past years I have not been able to spend as much time with my grandpa as I would have liked, I will always treasure the times we did spend together. I remember his smoked turkey, BBQ lemon chicken, and his love for basketball, gardening and fishing. I wish I could go back and relive the moments I did not realize were priceless at the time. Even though Grandpa was not a man that expressed his emotions, I still knew he loved me and loved his family very much. Grandpa, we miss you and love you lots! Love, Monica and Lance.
Growing up I knew whenever Don and Connie would visit our house, Connie would be baking delicious goodies and Don would be fixing something. He was always so busy with some type of project and when he wasn't busy we got to sit down and watch basketball together. It became very clear to me as I grew up that Lori had inherited Don's work ethic, which included always taking on new projects around her home. I'm thankful that Don passed this on to Lori, so she could teach all of her children the same values. Love, Taylor.
Grandpa, I remember when you came to Miles City when I was eight years old. You took me ice fishing and it was cold but we stayed until we caught some fish. I miss you. Zac.
Grandpa, the world lost a strong and noble man, Donald Sylvester Arnold, a man that was misunderstood by most. Don was a man that believed in respect and dignity; if you didn't have either of these he would be the first to tell you, he would never forget who you were or what you did. He was a hard man to get to know but well worth the struggle. My Grandpa always reminded me of Clint Eastwood. A man that you feared but respected and in return he would always stick up for you and kick everyone's ass in the end, plus they looked a lot alike. But most of all, he was a man who always loved his family and cherished his wife. It was a tough love that most people mistook as anger since he was raised in the tough old days when you could not show weakness for people would start to lose respect. Grandpa always loved Hyalite and fly fishing, nothing was better than a fresh fish fry. In the end it was sad to see how cruel this world is when a man so strong could be reduced to so little all by a disease called cancer. He will be loved and missed dearly. Love you, Michael.
Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow, but remember me in every tomorrow. Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles, I've only gone to rest a little while. Although my leaving causes pain and grief, my going has eased my hurt and given me relief. So dry your eyes and remember me, not as I am now, but as I used to be. Because I will remember you all and look on with a smile. Understand in your hearts, I've only gone to rest a little while. As long as I have the love of each of you, I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 25, 2012