Arnold Eugene Cook, the third of six children, was born Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1920, to parents Kathryn Smith Cook and Oscar Lee Cook of Sioux Falls, S.D., and passed away Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, under the care of Skiff Hospice in Newton, of complications of pneumonia.
Arnold lived through the days of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression of the 1930s. His grandfather, Henry Smith, who lived with the family for a number of years, was a Civil War veteran. After graduating from Sioux Falls Washington High School in 1939, he worked for the John Morrell Meat Packing Plant for a year. In 1940, Arnold entered South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University). As a football player, Arnold received All-Conference honors. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and was able to remain in college until activated. Arnold was sent to boot camp in San Diego, during World War II. He participated in action on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian in the Second Division, which had 12,720 combat casualties, the most of any Marine division in the Pacific.
In January 1946, Arnold resumed college and eventually met his future wife, Mary McGregor, in Spanish class. They married in Canistota, S.D., Dec. 26, 1947. Upon graduation in 1948, he began teaching and coaching in Hawarden. In 1953, after attending graduate school in the summers, Arnold received his M.S. degree in education finance from the University of Iowa, courtesy of the G.I. Bill. He served as school superintendent in Valley Springs, S.D., Lester (now West Lyon), Iowa, and Ponca, Neb., school districts. Arnold finished his professional educational career in Clarion, as jr. high principal, retiring in 1984, as classroom teacher.
For several years he and Mary would travel to McAllen, Texas, for the winter where they volunteered in several nearby schools. In 1986-87, Arnold and Mary were Volunteers in Christ’s Service in Arizona and Pharr, Texas. Mary and Arnold entered the Peace Corps in June 1987, and served in Costa Rica until September 1989; they then returned home to Clarion. He was a member of the Lion’s Club and American Legion. Arnold was active in golfing, United Methodist Church activities, the Democratic party, skilled gardening and was an active reader.
Arnold is preceded in death by two sisters, Marjorie Williams (Don, deceased) and Elizabeth Begeman (Sam, deceased); three brothers, Wendell (Delores), William (Vivian, deceased) and Tommy, who passed away at age 3; and son-in-law, Bob Barr. He is survived by his wife, Mary of Newton, four children, Marnie Lewellyn (Don), Janet, Carolyn and Matt Cook; and three grandchildren, Bonnie and Ross Lewellyn and Allen Cook Barr.
A service of remembrance will be at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Newton Village. A later service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the Clarion First United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be directed to the Clarion Public Library.