Alton "Al" Bury Arnold was born November 27, 1927 in Baltimore, Maryland to William Bury and Edna Anna Mae (Rothe) Arnold. Alton began work as a machinist at the age of 14. At age 18 he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, during World War II, stationed in Colorado. Alton used to say, “I protected Denver from a Japanese invasion and in return I got a college degree and a wonderful wife.” Plans had been set for to deploy overseas, but the conclusion of the war would have him to stay in Colorado, marry and pursue a college degree. Although Alton had dropped out of school to begin his trade as a machinist, he excelled through the University of Denver obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Electrical Engineering. Near completion of this degree, the fact that he had never graduated from high school was uncovered and Alton received an honorary diploma from a nearby high school, the same one Mary Lou graduated from.
Alton married Mary Lou Canton on September 2, 1947 and to this union four sons were born: Doug, David, Steven and Phil. Knowing they were supposed to have a daugther as well, they went in search of and adopted their beautiful Anette. She always knew she was chosen.
Alton’s professional career would be as Civil and Electrical Engineer. He found himself working in various industries over the years, but one he and his brother, Paul were both involved and excited to be a part of was the space program through NASA. Alton was connected with more than 100 unmanned space launches. In addition Alton worked on sewer systems, canning factories, power stations and off shore ultra sound technology for submarine detection. For six years, Alton worked in off shore oil through IAPCO in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
By day an Engineer, by night the owner and operator of a janitorial service, Alton instilled great work ethic to his children, who have passed this down to their children. Alton was very proud of the productive individuals his children and grandchildren had become. Alton was always eager to help his family whenever, wherever. In fact, all of his children, and some of his grandchildren, have additions to their homes that Alton was instrumental in building.
In retirement, Alton and Mary Lou decided to move to beautiful Alabama. While searching for the perfect spot, Alton put down payments on three different properties, but settled for the perfect little ranch. Mary Lou preceded Alton in death in 2003 After 58 years of marriage.
It was Mary Lou who got Alton involved in church. Once he decided this was the right course for himself, Alton was very devoted to the work and spent countless hours giving of his time and skill. This faith was also instilled in their children and grandchildren. And it was this very faith that would prove to be vital to the next chapter in Alton’s life.
In 2006, Alton began conversing with Latricia (Hill) Cornwell via the internet. Their interest began in commonalities of faith and after Alton became ‘hooked’, he convinced Latricia to let him drive over 600 miles to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where she was in residency, so the two could meet face to face. With recommendation in hand, and of course after providing the proper identification, the two hit it off! One month later on the way back from meeting Latricia’s children whom Alton would receive as his own, James, Allison and Timothy, Alton asked Latricia if they could speed this getting married process up. She asked what that meant and he said, “How about tomorrow?”
Alton and Latricia applied for a marriage license in Arkansas, but found that it would be unusable without a proper setting for their ceremony. So the two set a date and were married June 10, 2006 at the Temple in Oklahoma City.
Alton and Latricia have been so happy together. They have moved several times and have created many memories. They have traveled, worked on various projects and Alton even kept his promise to take Latricia dancing. The two faced such a tragedy together when their home was lost to fire just days ago on Memorial Day. This was such a tough blow to Alton, as he had put so much effort into making this a lovely home for Latricia. This in addition to a series of health issues over the last couple of years led to Latricia discovering Alton at rest with his final project in hand among his beloved tools in his workshop.
Alton was very committed to his faith, his work and family. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Latricia Arnold; children: son, David Arnold and wife, Carol, son, Steven Arnold and wife, Jackie, son, Phil Arnold and wife, Jan, daughter, Annette Brimley and husband, John, son, James Nelson Cornwell and wife, Karla, daughter, Allison Cornwell, son, Timothy Cornwell, and daughter-in-law, Chirley Arnold-Rodrigues. Alton is also survived by 28 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and brother, Paul Arnold and wife, Jean. Alton was preceeded in death by first wife, Mary Lou, son, Douglas, his parents, and sister, Yuonne Gilbert.