Charles Robbins Arnold
1934 - 2021
At home, in the very early hours, on Friday, February 12, 2021, Chuck left us and this earthly place, for a place of peace.
He was born, the oldest of three children, in Chicago, Illinois, on a bright sunny April day to Stanley Edmonds Arnold and Agnes Susanna (Mueller) Arnold.
At an early age he developed a fascination with the streetcars of Chicago and when he was old enough, he could be found on many a Saturday, sometimes with his younger brother, on a streetcar exploring the city. That interest in public transportation remained with him his entire life.
Life in Chicago was good and at the beginning of WW11, the family relocated to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where his father was employed by the government in the effort to eradicate mosquitos and malaria around the military bases. Three years going barefoot and enjoying southern life agreed with him.
At the end of the war, the family moved back north to Lombard, Illinois, west of Chicago. He graduated from Glen-Bard High School in 1955 and went on to four years at Blackburn College, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry.
Military service beckoned and he fulfilled his obligation at the Army Chemical Center in Maryland. That allowed him to explore the east coast in his off-time and spend time in New York City, enjoying the food and cultural events.
After his honorable discharge, Chuck enrolled in the University of Illinois and earned his Master's degree in chemistry.
Education behind him, and after a sightseeing trip west with his father, he decided that San Francisco was the place he wanted to live. So in 1960 he moved to a small place on Ashbury Street. He soon found friends and employment with Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Palo Alto as a chemist/research scientist. He remained with them for 34 years until his retirement. His focus for a number of years was electroplating: he was part of the group that developed the gold plating for the helmets that the astronauts wore for the moon landing. He was a member of the American Chemical Society.
In 1963, he and his brother Vic (now living with him in an apartment in the Sunset) met two nurses who had just moved into the building. In 1964, he married one and his brother the other. It was meant to be.
Married life was good and soon four children made it better. Weekends filled with hikes, visits to the zoo or aquarium, trips to Chinatown for dim sum. Enjoying the good things the city had to offer.
Chuck commuted daily over the years, from San Francisco to Palo Alto, while he was employed, by car, car pool, van pool, train and bicycle. He was passionate about public transportation and was one of the original members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. After retirement, and in the summer, he could be found with his fold up bike and his 30 day Greyhound bus pass, exploring the south and east coast, visiting his father in Florida and friends and relatives along the way. He instilled in his children a love for the out of doors and the freedom that a bicycle affords.
After retirement, genealogy research was a full time occupation. He traced the Arnold roots back to William Arnold who came from England in the 1600's. Always fascinated with finding the clue, the link to more family, he filled binder after binder with family information. He volunteered for many years at the LDS Family History Center in San Bruno, making lifelong friends, researching family and helping those who came in to get a start on their own family history. Vacations included trips to cemeteries, churches and county seats, always looking for more information.
Chuck loved his family, his friends and small animals. He enjoyed a walk on the beach, a good glass of wine, food of all kinds, an interesting book-probably history-and classical music. He had an amazing mind, an incredible memory for history and language and an ability to fix anything broken.
He leaves, to honor his memory, his wife of 56 years, Sharon. His children: Susan (Stu), Karen (Jeff), Thomas (Jenny) and Steven (Yvette). Grandchildren: Ian, Hazel, Jesse, Logan and Quinlan. His brother, Victor (Dolores) and sister, Claudia. His brother in law, David (Roberta). Nieces, Deborah and Diana(Victor). Nephew, Michael (Bernadette). Six grandnieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his parents and his mother and father in law, Rose and Thomas Pelle.
Our grateful thanks for the compassionate care given to Chuck by the Kaiser Hospice Team, his primary care doctor, Christine Fratino, and his caregiver, Mila. We wouldn't have been able to care for him at home without their help.
We will miss his love and will remember all that he brought to our lives. How he showed how much he cared for us in so many different ways.
A memorial will be held at a later date to honor a life well lived.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, 2021.