William Arnold
1944 - 2020
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William (Bill) Metcalf Arnold
1944-2020
William (Bill) Metcalf Arnold, of Houston, passed away on August 5, 2020 after a battle with gallbladder cancer. Bill was born on October 15, 1944 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a textile mill-town with a diverse ethnic background that triggered his curiosity about the world.
Bill was known for his love of people, quick wit, and charm; he thrived in his roles of loyal husband, Dad, Poppy, professor, world traveler, photographer, fly-fisherman, energy commentator, mentor and friend to so many across the globe. With the occasional exception of dealing with telemarketers, Bill was a supremely kind man. He was passionate about advancing opportunities for others, especially his students. His life exemplified hard work, service, and integrity.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Alice Kendall Mason Arnold and William S. Arnold, brother Lieutenant Colonel/Green Beret John Mason Arnold, and nephew Brian K. Arnold. Bill is survived by his wife of 49 years, Catherine Anthony Arnold, daughter, Elizabeth Kendall Arnold Dennis and her husband Richard Hollis Dennis III, and their children Cate, William, and Ellen of Rye, N.Y. He adored watching his grandchildren grow into energetic, smart, and loving kids. He was also grateful to be part of an extended family of Arnolds, Masons, Zartarians, Myers, Dennises, Askeys, Gutierrezes, Lehmans, Davises, Floyds and Sapons.
Bill's love of education began at Northfield-Mt. Hermon in Massachusetts and continued at Cornell University, the University of Amsterdam, and UT-Austin where he earned a Master's degree in Latin American Studies and a MBA.
Bill spent four summers in Central America with volunteer youth programs of Cornell University and Amigos de las Americas. It was on his last field program, in Guatemala, where he met Cathy. Their daughter Elizabeth, became a second generation Amigo, serving in Ecuador. Bill's six decades of involvement with Amigos began as its first field director in 1965 and later Chairman of the International Board.
Answering the call of duty, he served in the military as a MP at then-secret "Site R" near Camp David, earned the Army Commendation Medal, and received recognition for his leadership in the Theater Army Support Command Europe.
Bill had a diverse career spanning senior roles in volunteer organizations, banking, government, and academia – all connected by his lifelong commitment to improving global understanding. Bill enjoyed positions with Texas Commerce Bank, the Export-Import Bank in Washington, D.C. appointed by the Reagan-Bush administration, Royal Dutch Shell (Head of International Government Relations), and Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business (Professor in the Practice of Energy Management) where he pioneered new courses and taught more than 1,000 students over a decade.
Bill's passions included academia (serving on advisory boards at the University of St. Thomas, the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, and at the Institute of Latin American Studies at UT-Austin), music (piano lessons from his Aunt Annie, Houston Symphony Board, and Houston Grand Opera Board), and energy policy (contributions to global media and monthly op-eds).
At the time of his passing and for over a decade, Bill was a fellow with the Windsor Energy Conference held annually in Windsor Castle, participated in the Aspen Institute Forum on Energy and Security, and was a member of the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations which he chaired for several years.
Politically, Bill had the great honor to work with George H. W. Bush for 40 years, beginning as lead advance man in the 1980 Iowa Caucuses through Bush's tenure as Vice President and President of the United States. He was also an active supporter of Jeb Bush in his races for Governor of Florida and President. Bill and Jeb worked together at Texas Commerce Bank in the 1970s, and became close friends.
Over the years he travelled to 75 countries, including multiple trips to meet leaders of the newly independent nations of Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and a series of meetings in Iraq before their invasion of Kuwait. Despite so much adventure, he often described the best part of his trips as coming home.
Bill was a Member of the Houston Country Club where his handicap may have set a record at the high end, and the University Club in Washington, D.C. He was a member of St. Johns the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston and previously St. Albans Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
An avid photographer, he learned a great deal from Peter T. Brown who taught at Rice University and encouraged Bill to build portfolios of Rice rugby players, Alaskan fishing, NYC street life, and Texas trail riders.
As self-described "Five Star Freeloaders", Bill and Cathy enjoyed many years as the guests of generous friends in their vacation homes, especially in the Texas hill country, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Florida, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, and England. Bill loved fly fishing in Alaska, the Bahamas, Colorado, and Montana with a cherished group of fellow anglers. He also enjoyed ski trips to Jackson Hole with an eclectic "cavalry" of skiers from Canada, Austria, Russia and the US.
Bill leaves behind an indelible legacy of compassion, courage, and leadership. He will be profoundly missed by his family and friends, but also by the many lives he touched around the world. His unwavering encouragement, optimism and confidence in each of us that knew him will forever be a source of strength and inspiration.
There will be a family-only Memorial Service led by Rev. Ginger Strickland. A Celebration of Bill's Life will be held in Houston when it is safe to do so.
Donations honoring Bill can be made to Amigos de las Americas (to fund the Bill Arnold Leadership Award) or to Rice University (to fund the William M. Arnold Fund for the Geopolitics of Energy at the Jones Graduate School of Business). Addresses are: AMIGOS, 1800 West Loop South, Suite 1325, Houston, TX 77027; or Rice University External Relations – Development Office, Attn: Jan Spreen, Jones Graduate School of Business – MS 531, Rice University, P.O. Box 2932, Houston, TX 77252.
Condolences and memories can be shared on: https://obituaries.nationalcremation.com/obituaries/houston-tx/william-arnold-9301318

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 9, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
August 18, 2020
I was lucky to take Professor Arnold's Geopolitics of Energy class last fall when I was in the Rice MBA program. His global vision and understanding of international affairs were amazing. We enjoyed freedom of expression and thoughts exchange in his class, no matter what are your race, background, gender... He was such a gentleman. I sure will miss Professor Arnold.
Stephen Duan
Student
August 18, 2020
Bill was not only bright and talented, he was kind, welcoming, and engaging. He thrived on learning and teaching and he was always eager to contribute to our community and the world. Bill, It has been an honor to be your friend.
Jack Belcher
Friend
August 14, 2020
Prof. Bill was a very humble person who contributed immensely to the energy industry and to Rice. I took his energy class and absolutely loved the class. He was always engaged and made the class interesting. A huge loss to the community. Prof. Bill, you will be missed!!!
santhosh
Student
August 13, 2020
I am so saddened to learn of Bill's passing! I took his Geopolitics of Energy class when I was in the Rice MBA program. His energy about energy was contagious, and he was adored as a teacher. I also knew Bill as a fellow member of the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations. I will greatly miss seeing him and hearing his insights about global affairs. We will all miss you so much, Bill!
Jennifer Rossi
Student
August 12, 2020
Bill Arnold is the kind of professor who leaves a positive imprint on your memory. I was saddened to hear the news of his passing and will be forever grateful to have learned under his tutelage.
Andrea Rodriguez
Student
August 11, 2020
He was a wonderful teacher! I am sad to hear of this. But he certainly made an impact in life!!!
Ann Livaudais
Student
August 11, 2020
I was lucky to have Bill as a Professor. He was not only a true professional, but a great mentor. He always took the time to not only share knowledge, but to give guidance and advice. He will be missed.
Isaac Aviles
Student
August 11, 2020
To say that professor Arnold was a wealth of knowledge is an understatement. I will forever cherish the classes I took with him and miss his counsel. He lived a great life, something his family must be proud of. My condolences to Mrs. Arnold and the rest of the family. May he rest in peace.
Ishaq Sayeed
Student
August 11, 2020
I was a student of Bill's courses at Rice MBA and also part of an international trip led by Bill to South American from the end of 2010 to early 2011. Bill taught me a lot and was always willing to help. He was also a man of great charisma and be loved by people surrounding him. Rest In Peace, Bill! You will be missed always.
Gilbert Lei
Student
August 10, 2020
Bill's generosity often including making introductions to people in his network. All you had to say was "Bill Arnold suggested I call you..." and the person on the receiving end always made time. True sign of the impact he had made on others... RIP, Bill. You lived well and I am happy to have worked with you at Rice. Respectful condolences to your dear family and friends. Andrea Letkeman
Andrea Letkeman
Coworker
August 9, 2020
I first met Bill in the late 1970s when he and I both worked on the international side at different banks. We had lunch together occasionally and played tennis a couple of times, neither of us well enough to win a match (go figure). From the outset, It was clear Bill was an unusually kind and capable man, a type we can use more of.
Paul Lester
Acquaintance
August 9, 2020
A great man who taught me so much. Rest In Peace Bill. You were one of a kind.
Katie Mehnert
Coworker
August 8, 2020
he was a lovely man who always reached out to help me even while struggling with his illness. I wish everyone could have had the opportunity to meet him.
Jeffrey Share
Acquaintance
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