Laurel Arnold
1923 - 2015
Laurel DuBois Arnold ULSTER PARK-Laurel DuBois Arnold of Ulster Park died Sept. 6, 2015 at Maple Ridge Bruderhof. She was 92. Born in Kingston in 1923, Laurel was the eldest child daughter of the Raymond and Florence DuBois of Gardiner. Growing up during the Depression, she was counted on at her parents’ 90-acre dairy farm on Forest Glen Road. Laurel graduated from New Paltz High School in 1940 and from Cornell University in 1944. In Feb. 1944, Laurel married Paul Edwin Arnold, a merchant seaman from Modena. After the wedding, he completed his officer’s training, and she returned to final exams. While Paul served in the Merchant Marines, Laurel taught on Long Island. When he was discharged in 1946, they both found jobs at Mohawk Adirondack Hotel - Laurel as head waitress, Paul as a bartender - in order to put him through college. In 1951 Laurel and Paul felt called to the mission field and traveled with their three young children to the Sudan, sponsored in part by the Dutch Reformed Church of New Paltz. While there they lost their oldest son, Christopher, to polio at age 3. Returning from Africa, they resettled in New Paltz. Laurel worked at the Huguenot Street Cooperative Nursery School while Paul found a job with Fall Fittings. Around this time he encountered Woodcrest Bruderhof in Rifton. To quote Laurel, “We felt drawn to the ideal of brotherhood, and began to examine issues and areas of our life we hadn’t thought of before: materialism, private property, the causes of war.” In 1960, Laurel and Paul inherited land in Gardiner, and made plans to build a home. But they decided to first take their children to the Bruderhof for a longer visit, to discern if that was where their real calling lay. They never left. In Laurel’s words, “Though we had become more and more involved in church activities, we never found the heart-to-heart relationships we were looking for. We wanted to live a life of following Jesus every day, not just on Sundays.” It was this determination to follow Jesus in a practical way that kept Laurel serving others for the rest of her life. Two examples stand out: for years, she and Paul took care of a disabled Jewish Holocaust survivor in their own apartment, as part of their family. And when their eldest child, Lynn, died of cancer in 1980, Laurel took on the role of mother for Lynn’s six children, age 1 to 8. Laurel and Paul had 8 children, 29 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. With refreshing directness and humor, she never missed an opportunity to extend a helping hand where it was needed, which made her a dearly beloved mother, grandmother, friend, and mentor. She is preceded by her husband, Paul Arnold and children Lynn Rhoads and Christopher Arnold. She is survived by her children, Stephen Arnold, Julie Arnold, and Jean Mercer all of Ulster Park, N.Y.; Celia Piper of Clarkston, Wash.; and Marybeth Withers and Susannah Potts of Robertsbridge England.
Published by the Daily Freeman from Sep. 7 to Sep. 8, 2015.
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