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William Howard Arnold


1931 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
William Howard Arnold Obituary
William Howard Arnold Jr (known to everyone as Howard) passed away July 16 from a sudden stroke. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Josephine Routheau Arnold, and his five children, William Howard Arnold III ("Bill") of Phoenix, AZ, Frances Arnold of La Canada, CA, Edward ("Eddy") Arnold of Belle Mead, NJ, David Arnold of Allison Park, PA, and Thomas ("Tom") Arnold of Holland. He has ten surviving grandchildren, Samuel Arnold, William Arnold, James Bailey, William Lange, Joseph Lange, Elizabeth Arnold, Emily Arnold, Patrick Arnold, Sarah Arnold, and Alexander Arnold.
Howard was born May 13, 1931 in Jefferson Barracks, MO. Howard's father was Lt. General W.H. ("Duke") Arnold, the commander of the 5th US Army and a Division commander under General Douglas McArthur during the final push through the Pacific to defeat the Japanese in 1944-5. Duke Arnold was highlighted just last week in the Sentinel ref (July 15)
Howard, or "Legs", as he was known to his childhood friends at Macatawa, spent summers at Stack Arms, on Michigan Walk. His sister, Elizabeth ("Betty") Arnold Dallman, and his brother Joseph ("Joe") Coleman Arnold, both still have cottages at Macatawa. Mostly known for being an egghead who cracked his bubblegum while lying on a sofa for hours reading a book, he roused himself to win several sailing trophies on Lake Macatawa in the 40's. He won a four year Pepsi Cola Scholarship to Cornell University at age 16 where he studied chemistry and chemical engineering. After that he studied physics at Princeton University, receiving a PhD in 1955.
At Princeton, he also met Jodie, the daughter of Col. and Mrs. Edward Routheau. Jodie's mother, also Josephine, was a keen bridge partner of Howard's formidable mother, Lib Arnold, a fixture of Macatawa beach and bridge tables for decades. Howard and Jodie were married in June 1952 at a huge family wedding, attended by Arnolds, Barkwells, Brouns, Clancys, Dallmans, den Uyls, Kelleys, Kranenbergs, McMahons, Mullens, Webers, and many other Macatawa cousins and family friends. After the wedding, Howard and Jodie spent their honeymoon in Macatawa.
After graduation, Howard took a job in the new field of nuclear engineering with Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh. While there, he wrote computer software for the analysis and control of neutron diffusion in a nuclear reactor, code which is still in use more than 50 years later. "If you get it right, it stays right", says his son Bill. He became Macatawa's own rocket scientist when Westinghouse assigned him to design the nuclear rocket engine, NERVA, which was meant to take men to Mars. In the late 60's, when his company was on the verge of losing a huge government contract, he was put in charge of developing the famous Mark 48 torpedo, the main weapon of U.S. submarines. In peacetime Howard worked for more than 35 years in the power industry. He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering. He and his daughter Frances are the only father and daughter elected to the Academy of Engineering. In his 80s, he continued to work as a Presidential appointee to the U. S. Nuclear Waste Advisory Board.
In 1965, Howard designed and built the Restinghouse cottage at the end of Maksaba Trail on South Hill in Macatawa, and added the adjoining Lunaria in 1984. In the sixties, he built the cottage and then organized his children to shore up the eroding sand dune in front of it. For several summers Col. Routheau, his grandchildren and Bill's wife Jane could be seen dragging railroad ties across the dune where they had dumped bricks and concrete rubble from Holland's old roads and churches in front of the cottage. Howard and his wife looked forward to seeing his five children and their families every summer when they came out to enjoy the beauties of Macatawa's wooded dunes, glittering lakes, and the sunny, sandy peninsula. Bill has his own cottage, the Rosie on Crescent walk, and Tom lives in Holland.
In recent years Howard and Jodie moved into an apartment at Freedom Village where they made many good friends. Howard was extremely active to the end, riding his bicycle around town, playing bridge, and giving lectures at Hope College on nuclear energy. Howard loved and had many good dogs, and one excellent cat.
Services are planned but the date is not yet set. Donations should be made to the Harbor Humane Society at harborhumane.org. The family is being served by the Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home. www.langelandsterenberg.com
Published in The Holland Sentinel on July 19, 2015
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