Norm Arnett of Columbus, Ohio, was three weeks into rehabilitation following a brain hemorrhage, when his heart stopped. He was 78.
He grew up in the picturesque, small town of Bryan, in northwest Ohio, in the 1940s and 1950s. His parents are Nelson Park Arnett and Leona Tadsen. His grandmother, Clara Elizabeth Arnett, raised him, surrounded by a loving cast of uncles and aunts of the Crowe, Garvey and Ward clans. He spent summers with his father in Michigan, fishing and training bird dogs. He was a star math and science student. His outside interests included playing marbles; breeding homing pigeons; collecting coins; whistling; drawing; and detailing his 1951 Chevrolet convertible.
He continued his studies at The Ohio State University. His bride – Patty Karnes of Defiance – joined him in Columbus. They settled in the suburb of Bexley, where they reared three children and one well-trained and well-loved dog.
In Bexley, Norman cultivated an admired rose garden and maintained an immaculate work bench. He appreciated American-made automobiles of the 1930s through 1960s, and enjoyed maintaining his own cars. He demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of North American flora and fauna and could recall crop market prices all the way back to WWII. Family vacations typically were organized as educational field trips of American history and of the great outdoors. He imparted to his children keen observation, pride in a task meticulously executed, and a passion for life-long learning.
He worked as a draftsman for civil engineering firms then later switched to residential land development. After the couple divorced, Norm changed course from civil engineering, dedicating himself to the study of human nature. He became a pop psychology aficionado and facilitated support groups for the divorced and separated community.
In his retirement, he picked up a camera. His eye, knowledge of nature and reflexes collaborated to capture amazing moments. Norm found his favorite subjects – birds – at home, in his native Midwest and farther afield, on frequent road trips and cruises, which he enjoyed with his long-time friend Lynn Dillman – of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
Those who met him know that Norman was never at a loss for words. But – maybe because his wife typed his papers or maybe because his precise draftsman block print and beautiful loopy cursive took him so long to execute – no one knew he could write. Late in life, with the help of an iPhone, he revealed his gift for the written word. He leaves his family with many stories of his childhood and insights on life. Many conveyed in multi-inch texts.
Norman is survived by two half-brothers: Rick Arnett – of East Lansing, MI; Roger Arnett – of Minneapolis, MN. By his children and grandchildren: Amy Arnett and husband Ron Budzik, children Drake, Claire, Luke – of New Albany, OH; Stephen Arnett and wife Hollie, children Macy, Nina, London, Autumn – of Canton, MI; Sarah Arnett – of Columbus, OH. And by his beloved pet Scooter, a rescued orphan squirrel. His former wife is Patricia McDonald (John) – of New Albany, OH.
Norman Lawrence Arnett will be laid to rest on Wednesday, February 10, 2pm, in Bryan, Ohio’s Fountain Grove Cemetery mausoleum, alongside other family members. A memorial service in Columbus, Ohio, will be set for a later date.
To share memories or to convey condolences to the family, write to mail@NormanArnett.com or visit www.normanarnett.com.