FULTON, NY – James Neil Arnold, 70, of Fulton, died on Monday April 15, 2013, at Oswego Hospital following complications from multiple strokes.
Jim was born on April 7, 1943, to Liberty and Irene (Wilcox) Arnold in West Point, NY.
He attended Fulton schools and graduated from Fulton High School in 1960.
Jim participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America and spent many summers at the Sandy Creek Fair and Camp Wabasso near Watertown, NY.
As a “country kid,” Jim’s chances of attending college were limited, but with grit and perseverance, inherited from his parents, he attended SUNY Morrisville and later transferred to Cornell University.
After graduating Cornell he worked briefly at Kodak in Rochester, NY, then drove to Alaska in 1968.
He found work at a children’s center there, which sparked his lifelong interest in social work.
Jim met his wife in Alaska, married, and then earned his master’s degree in social work at the University of Nebraska.
After returning to Alaska, he worked for 14 years in mental health centers in Anchorage and Wasilla.
In 1984, he and his family returned to Fulton, where he was employed by the Oswego County Mental Health Center, the Oswego County Correctional Facility, and Farnham, Inc.
In 2008, he retired from the mental health unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, capping a 36-year career in the field of family counseling as a psychiatric social worker.
Jim was a devoted husband and father.
He deeply loved and relied on Mary, his wife of 43 years.
His two daughters, Autumn and Prairie were simply amazing to him and the greatest source of joy and pride.
Jim was close to his siblings and other members of his large extended family, and he truly appreciated the gifts of love, support and laughter they provided.
Although he appeared quiet and unassuming, he was a man of integrity, compassion, and deep insight who made a difference in many lives.
In both his work and his family life, Jim was also known for his sense of humor, his gentle sarcasm, and his ability to laugh at himself.
Jim was predeceased by his parents and infant daughter, Meadow.
He is survived by his wife, the former Mary Levan; daughters: Autumn (John Kelley) Arnold of Madison, Wisc., and Prairie (Jeffrey) Wessel of Baldwinsville, NY; brothers: Jack (Virginia) Arnold of Fulton and Duane (Roxanne) Arnold of Fulton; sister, Christine (Dale) Dix of Fulton; aunt Nancy (Wilcox) Hawthorne of Fulton; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jim’s wife and children would like to invite family, friends, and colleagues to join them in celebrating Jim’s life on April 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Battle Island, State Route 48, Fulton.
Burial will be held privately.
To support Jim’s love of the outdoors, the Arnold family would request that donations be made to Friends of Great Bear c/o Fulton Family YMCA 715 W. Broadway, Fulton, NY 13069.
The Sugar Funeral Home, 224 W. Second St. S., Fulton, has care of the arrangements.