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Arnold M. Sargeant

1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Arnold M. Sargeant Obituary
Sargeant, Arnold M. Jr.

He was small of stature but big of heart. It is with sadness we announce the passing of our father, Retired Colonel Arnold M. Sargeant, Jr., who was a warrior and 90 years young. Arnold was born in Overland, MO on December 25, 1925, the youngest child of Arnold Melville Sargeant Sr. and Joanna Mae (Lindsey) Sargeant. The family soon moved to Lansing, MI.

In his early years Arnold was an accomplished track runner, tap dancer, singer and accordion player. He attended the University of Michigan for two years before he was nominated by a local Congressman and accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point; he graduated in 1948. Arnold loved the history and lore of West Point. He was a very good student and active in the West Point Glee Club. Not a stellar swimmer, he nonetheless persevered to finally pass the swim test before graduating.

Arnold's first duty assignment was with then-Lt. Colonel Creighton Abrams's 63rd Tank Battalion in Germany. It was there he met and later married the love of his life, Kathryn (Kit) Sargeant; son, Kimball was born there. While serving as an ROTC officer at Seattle University, David was born. Arnold was later assigned as advisor to the Vietnamese Military academy in Dalat, where he took his young family in 1958; son, Michael was delivered in the French colonial house they occupied there. Other assignments included South Korea, Fort Knox, KY, Fort Hood, TX, Tucson, AZ (MBA), Fort Bliss, TX, Vietnam (during Tet), PMS at Idaho State University ROTC in Pocatello and, last, Commander of the Tropic Test Center in Panama. While in Panama Kit and Arnold took to swimming most week days during his lunch break.

Arnold served our country honorably for over 28 years and retired with Kit to Albuquerque in 1976 so she could pursue a post-graduate degree in archeology. They drove their Chevrolet Blazer Chalet from Panama, bringing with them their beloved parrot, Tilly. (She finally passed a few years ago). Arnold always said that his wife followed him in his career for 28 years, the least he could do was follow her once.

Arnold and Kit were world travelers, which they continued well into retirement. He was also a rabid supporter of the Army football team, win or lose: in later years, it was mostly losses. Once he and Kit were in New Zealand and happened to stop at a pub for a meal and refreshments; he was thrilled to see the Army-Navy game being televised there.

Arnold and Kit purchased their wonderful old Adobe home in the North Valley in 1978. It was during early construction of a swimming pool and an addition to their house that Kit dug a test trench, eventually to discover they lived atop the remains of a large and culturally important Indian Pueblo dating back many hundreds of years. Kit conducted a large excavation, supported by the Maxwell Museum and the University. Arnold endured several years with his wonderful new indoor pool being surrounded with shelves holding artifacts to be catalogued. Their love for their home and stories of the peoples that came before them became the focus of their retirement years.

To help fund their travels, Arnold persuaded Kit to openâ€"for "one year"â€"the first bed and breakfast in the Albuquerque area, which they named "Casita Chamisa." Later, Arnold helped form the B&B association for the State of New Mexico. If Kit loved history and archeology, Arnold loved the B&B business. He would talk endlessly about the history of the site and the work of his wife. He was a friend to all and would regale the many people who came into his world about stories from his days in the military, the dig, and their passionate political battles (e.g., opposing the Montano Bridge). Arnold served as a trustee for the Village of Los Ranchos for 10 years. He was a trusting soul and generous to a fault with friends and family who needed a helping hand.

Kit, the love of his life, passed away before her time in 2001, probably the saddest thing that ever happened to him. After Kit passed he continued to run the B&B because it "kept him out of bars and off the streets." Nonetheless he made a great Old Fashioned, which he was happy to make for an early evening visitor. He knew all the staff at Chase Hardware and always provided his famous "Tom and Jerry" Party for them on Christmas Eve. That was the day before his birthday, which he shared with another important fellow.

A big irony is that, after nearly failing at West Point because of the swimming test, Arnold continued to regularly swim half a mile, and he recorded his yearly miles on a chart put up on the frig. He swam 88 laps (about 3/4 mile) the day he turned 88. And he swam the week before his passing.

How does one measure the life of a man? For his children and their families, he was larger than life and a force to be reckoned with. He leaves behind three sons, Kimball (wife Nory), David (Donna) and Michael. He was also loved by his grandchildren and their families, Robert (Lori), Bill (Libby), Megan (Sam) Browning, Sarah and Desiree. In November 2015 he traveled to meet his great grandchildren, Caleb, Kathryn, Hailey, Vivian and his great-great-grandchild, Henry.

Arnold is survived by his older sister, Joanne and her husband Duane Russell, their families, and the families of older brother Bob Sargeant, especially his niece, Rosie and Ken Faiver and their family, who remained close to Arnold. He was considered a family member, confidante and friend too many people in the greater Albuquerque area, but especially Dr. Jack Ellis and his wife Maggie Knight, who shared dinner with him several times a week for many years after Kit's passing. Arnold also made many close friends among people who first met him as guests of the B&B, to include hot-air balloonists, for whom he and Kit crewed for several years. He will be missed by many.

There will be a rosary on Thursday, April 21, 2016 6:30 p.m. at FRENCH-University, led by the Faith Sharing Group in which Arnold and Kit were members for many years. The memorial mass will be on Friday, April 22, 2016, 2:00 p.m. at St. Therese of the Infant Jesus Catholic Church, 3424 Fourth Street NW. Please visit our online guestbook for Arnold at www.FrenchFunerals.com.

FRENCH - University

1111 University Blvd. NE

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Apr. 13, 2016
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