Ralph W. Arnold
A life of worth
Ralph Whittle Arnold died April 15, 2023 surrounded by his daughters and in the loving care of the extraordinary people at Pierce Memorial Baptist Home in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Ralph was born August 15, 1927, the fifth child of the late Clifton and Christianna (Harrington) Arnold. He grew up at 479 Great Road, Lincoln, Rhode Island on the family dairy farm – Lincoln Woods Farm. Ralph is predeceased by his cherished siblings: Dorothy Arnold, Warren Arnold, Walter Arnold, Marjorie (Arnold) Snow, Alice (Arnold) Follett, Beverly Arnold and Russell Mulligan.
Ralph’s eyesight made him ineligible for military service although he tried desperately to enlist. He made a commitment to serve and, as fate would have it, that service was through social work. Ralph considered social work his life’s purpose and began his journey at Lyman State School in Massachusetts where he worked with teenagers and organized a 4-H Club.
In 1955, Ralph married Eleanor Louise Gardner and they began their life together as cottage parents at Children’s Village in Tarrytown, New York. Ralph then became assistant director of Vanderhyden Hall, a home for orphaned children in Troy, New York.
As their family began to grow, Ralph and Eleanor opened five “Arnold’s” restaurants. They moved to 124 Deanville Road, Attleboro, Massachusetts where they raised their family. Ralph and Eleanor were long-time members of Centenary Methodist Church. Ralph helped to establish the Working Person’s Food Pantry and begin an Explorer Scouting troop. He was very active in Boy Scouts, serving in numerous positions and earning recognition for 50 years of service as well as the Order of the Arrow and Silver Beaver.
Later in life, Ralph sold the restaurants and returned to social work as a transporter and case worker for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Upon retirement and his beloved Eleanor’s passing, he became a foster parent to 63 teenagers from the Attleboro, Massachusetts area.
Ralph carried the following poem in his wallet for 70 years:
A Life of Worth
It is not what the world gives me in honor, praise or gold,
it is what I give the world so others do unfold.
If by my work through life I can another soul unfold,
then I have done what cannot be made good by praise or gold.
One tiny thought or tiny word may give a great one birth and
if that thought was caused by me, I have lived a life of worth.
Ralph leaves four daughters – Linda Fabre and her husband Michael, Elizabeth Ann Durant and her husband Robert, Dottie Mercier and her husband Michael and Carolee Tumolo and her husband Michael. He leaves 11 loving grandchildren: Lea Fabre, Nicholas Fabre, Brandi Fabre, Justin and Stephanie Durant, Derin Durant, Michael William and Jennifer Mercier, Scott and Kacey Mercier, Joy and Steven Fredette, Rebecca Woll, Michael John Tumolo and Dr. Shantell Hassey, and Christopher Tumolo. His 13 treasured great-grandchildren are: Alex, Truly, Macie, Michael Justin, Yvonne, Hunter, Ryder, Elizabeth, Maria, Travis, Sienna, Jade and Eleanor. Ralph thought the world of his many nieces and nephews. His close friends include Harry Owens, Nelson Kay, Gene McLacklin, Norm Greene, Bob Hefron, Scott Davis and John Chiarenza.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visitation on Saturday, April 22, 2023 from 10:30-12:30 AM at Bellows Funeral Chapel, 160 River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865. A service will take place thereafter followed by burial at the Friend’s Cemetery, Lincoln, RI. For directions and guestbook, visit: www.bellowsfuneralchapel.com
In lieu of flowers, your donation would be greatly appreciated:
Pierce Memorial Baptist Home Boy Scouts of America
Activities Department Narragansett Council
44 Canterbury Road 223 Scituate Avenue
Brooklyn, CT 06234 Cranston, RI 02921
PLEASE NOTE: The funeral service will be livestreamed. Livestreaming of services occurs in real-time and may be subject to certain limitations of the available network at the time of the event. Should there be a disruption in real-time streaming, a video copy of the service will be uploaded after the conclusion of the event.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ralph Whittle Arnold, please visit our floral store.