Marie (“Jennie”) Jones Arnold died peacefully at her home in Charlotte on September 10, 2020, just two days shy of her 83rd birthday, after a yearlong battle with metastatic breast cancer. Jennie was a devoted wife and mother, hopelessly smitten grandmother, loyal friend, committed community volunteer, lifelong beach bum, and diehard fan of Tar Heel basketball and youth soccer. Jennie was born in Kinston, North Carolina on September 12, 1937 to the late Clifton Rudolph Jones and Ella Sutton Kilpatrick Jones.
After attending East Carolina College (now ECU) in nearby Greenville, she became an honorary Tar Heel and passionate Carolina basketball fan when she married UNC grad and Dover native Harry Hodges (“Hap”) Arnold in 1958. Hap’s 27-year career as a naval officer took the North Carolina natives — and eventually their two children — to Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Newport, Rhode Island; Honolulu, Hawaii; Cleveland, Ohio; and Montreal, Canada. With Hap’s tours of duty rarely lasting more than two years, the formidable task of creating a comfortable family home and helping the family acclimate to each new community fell largely to Jennie, and she met that challenge with great style and an adventurous spirit. A natural extrovert, Jennie made friends easily and embraced her role as a Navy wife and active community volunteer in each new location, but her love of sunny weather and beautiful beaches made Hawaii the hardest place to leave.
After Hap retired from the Navy in 1981 and began a second career in college administration at UNC Charlotte, the couple’s return to North Carolina gave them the chance to settle down and establish deeper community roots for the first time in their adult lives. With her children in college and graduate school, Jennie joined the staff of Charlotte Country Day School as an administrative assistant for several years and greatly enjoyed being a part of that vibrant educational community. For more than 20 years thereafter, she served as a regular hospital volunteer in the emergency room and at the front desk of CMC-Pineville (now Atrium Health), and many of her fellow volunteers became steadfast friends. Following the birth of her only grandchild in 2002, Jennie spent countless hours reading to and playing with her grandson, attending school concerts and athletic events, and introducing him to the joys and agonies of March Madness.
Jennie was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Harry Hodges (“Hap”) Arnold; and her brothers, Clifton Patrick (“Pat”) Jones and Linwood Sutton (“Lindy”) Jones. She is survived by her son, Thomas Edward Arnold of Gaithersburg, Maryland; her daughter and son-in-law, Debora Arnold and Thomas Sean Fox of Charlotte; her grandson, Dylan Lucas Fox-Arnold of Charlotte; and 12 nieces and nephews.
The family is deeply grateful to Evelyn Diallo for her expert and loving care and would also like to express their appreciation to Jennie’s wonderfully supportive village of friends and neighbors.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, no memorial service will be held locally, but a service will take place at Arlington National Cemetery when it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Oceana (oceana.org), a science-based organization whose mission is to protect and restore the world’s oceans.