He was a soft-spoken, thoughtful man with a firm handshake and a larger than life spirit.

Fred Arnold and I shared many conversations, about farming, the newspaper business, family. He looked after me. I’d share with him the pressures I’d face, and he’d patiently remind me things could always get worse...and they often do, before they get better.

Well, the world is a worse place without Fred in it.

Arnold passed away at the age of 81 on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The farmer, Houston County Commissioner and advocate and I, didn’t always agree on things, we didn’t always see eye to eye, but we could always talk about it and respect one another’s points on an issue.

Fred was well read and would often bring me clippings of things he knew we could talk about.

He’d ask my opinion on particular issues because he knew that I would speak truth to power and even if we didn’t agree, he would be given my honest thoughts.

I like to think he took some of them back with him and used them when forming his opinion about an issue he was pressed to discuss at the County Board.

I know he would do that for his constituents. He had his finger on the pulse of the people who’d elected him to serve.

He told me, as his term would expire in 2020, even in his 80’s, that he was planning on running again.

It meant a lot to Fred the impact he was making on the lives of all of us in Houston County.

Well Fred, your work made an impact on this journalist to be sure.

Thank you for your contributions to my life. I am better off having learned from you these numbers of years.

Even before Fred was a member of the County Board, he attended every meeting learning, asking questions, offering input. He is what so many of our elected officials are not...thoughtful, considerate and willing to put in the work on behalf of others, not for the gain of themselves.

I’ll miss you Fred, and thanks for the impact you made in my life. 

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