Arnold, Evan Lyle (1921 - 2011)
Inducted: November 17, 2009
Evan Arnold has lived up to the highest traditions of a pioneer family, spending his life in service, to his family, to his community, to larger world issues, and to agriculture.
His neighbours admire and respect him. One of them, Fred McKerrall, said “He would do anything for you at any time. He would drop whatever he was doing to help. He is one of the best!”
Mr. Arnold was born on June 25th, 1921, the son of Lyle Richard Arnold and the former Loretta Pugh, into a pioneer family that helped develop Kent County. He received his early schooling at S. S. 7, Chatham Township, and followed it with secondary education at Chatham Collegiate Institute and Chatham Vocational School.
He was an only son, so he became involved from an early age in farming at the Arnold home farm on Concession 4, Chatham Township. This soon led to a deep involvement in farm organizations, especially those geared to the improvement of agriculture, and to the enhancement of quality farm products. From 1953 to 1960, he was a member of the Ontario Vegetable Growers’ Marketing Board, and of the Hog, Wheat and Soybean Boards.
From 1955 to 1970, he was an active member of the Red Triangle Baby Beef Club, and organization responsible for a very high quality of premium beef. Nowhere was his interest in agriculture more apparent than in his long-term association with the Federation of Agriculture. In 1969, he joined the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and became an active member in that organization.
Mr. Arnold became a member of the Kent Federation of Agriculture Board in 1975, and served as its President in 1976 and 1977. The International Plowing Match in Kent in 1979 excited his interest and involvement, and he worked in the development of the Plowing Match Corn Mural.
In 1989, he became a member of the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame Association.
His valuable contributions to Ontario Federation of Agriculture were recognized with a certificate in 1992; and the same year, he received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for his notable contribution to the Agriculture and Food Industry in Ontario. In this, he was the 14th recipient.
Mr. Arnold was deeply interested in education. In 1957, he became a member of the Chatham Township School Board. With the end of the one and two-room country schools, he became a member of the Chatham Suburban High School Board in 1959, and served to 1964. As one education-guiding entity followed another, he was, successively, a member, and Chairman of the Chatham Township Area School Board in 1965, a member of the Kent Area 1 School Board the following year; and Chairman of the Property Acquisition and Building Committee for the McNaughton Avenue Public School.
It was inevitable that he would serve as Chairman of the ISOC-Interim School Organization Committee, looking ahead to changes in education in 1968; and this was followed by his election to the new Kent County Board of Education. He served as its Chairman in 1973.
Mr. Arnold’s final year on the Kent Board in 1974 was followed by a brief hiatus, before his election to Chatham Township Council in 1979, and to Deputy Reeve three years later. As a representative of Chatham Township, he served on Kent County Council from 1982 to 1984.
Demonstrating his interest in all children, their education and well-being, he was a member of the Sydenham District Mental Retardation Association from 1982 to 1984; a member of the Kent Children’s Aid Society Board from 1985 to 1987; a member of the Sydenham District Hospital Board in 1984; and Chairman and member of the Kent Library Board from 1985 to 1990.
Mr. Arnold received a Confederation Medal in 1967, recognizing his valuable service to the nation. He obtained a St. Clair College Certificate in Business and Industry Speaking and Leadership in 1979.
His concerns have been both local and international. Through the Kiwanis Club, he raised $7,100 over four years through the sale of Gladioli to benefit the Chatham Public General Hospital Pediatric Ward; and he has been a long-time World Vision Child supporter.
Mr. Arnold maintains his interest and involvement in many organizations. He served as a member of the Masonic Lodge; and since 1983, he has been a member of the Active Lifestyle Centre of Chatham; since 1985, a member of the Canadian Businessmen’s Committee; since 1988, a member of the Thames Horizon Shuffleboard Club; since 1999, a member of the Golden K Chatham Kiwanis Club; and he is actively involved with the Gideons. He has been a lifelong member of Louisville Baptist Church.
His views have been expanded and enhanced through travel in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, the U.S.A., and South America.
Mr. Arnold and the late Alfreda (McCann) were married August 19th, 1944. There were two children: Amy (Hogg), of Calgary; and David, Chatham Township. There are four grandchildren: Sarah Hogg, at University of Victoria; and Logan Hogg, in High School; and Lori Arnold, in Winnipeg; and Christopher Arnold, on the farm.
Mr. Arnold was married to Evelyn Perrier, who passed away in early November, 2009.
A daughter’s tribute:
“Evan has been a cornerstone of the community for many years. Many people have sought out his opinions and guidance on varied issues of the day. He is a kind, wise and thoughtful person, and the very best father that David and I could ever have.”