Jerry Eldon Arnold, 82, Nevada, MO passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 3, 2022, at Nevada Regional Medical Center in Nevada. Jerry was born December 13, 1939 in Texhoma, OK to Omer C. and Margaret R. (Boydstun) Arnold. He has spent the last 50 years as a resident of Vernon County.
Born on the family farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, Jerry was the youngest boy in the family of 14 children. His older brothers served in various branches of our country’s military and Jerry followed in their footsteps to join the National Guard. Even though he never saw active duty, he was an avid supporter of all veterans and was a proud member of the VFW, American Legion and NRA/ILA.
Money was hard to come by with such a large family so Jerry worked many odd jobs in his youth, as well as, helping on his brother-in-law’s farm in Kansas. One of these jobs was to set pins at the local bowling alley. He also rode his bike along country roads and collected pop bottles to exchange for cash. This was just the beginning of his lifetime of hard work.
Jerry attended schools in Fort Scott, Kansas City, and in Pleasanton where he graduated with the Class of 1958. He was working at the local service station when he met Katherine Brooks, who was teaching Home Economics in Pleasanton. She invited him to the Valentine Dance at school and they became life-long sweethearts. They were married on June 7, 1964 and were inseparable for the next 56 years until her death in 2020.
Jerry continued to work at service stations during the day and worked as a bartender at night in Shawnee Mission, KS. In 1966, their daughter, Sherry, was born. Shortly after that, they moved to Hume, MO to help Katherine’s family on the farm. It was at this time that Jerry bought several head of dairy cattle. When he was not milking cows, he could be found working on tractors or riding horses with friends in the Hume Saddle Club. Being in the dairy business did not prove to support the family, so Jerry took a town job at Central States Press and moved the family to Nevada.
Shortly after this move, he bought his own service station. He operated J-K Texaco and eventually added a liquor store and a car wash during the next 10 years. Jerry was an honest businessman who made a name for himself as a loyal friend. He believed that customer service was equally important to making a dollar. Moving to town provided for the family, but his love for farming never went away. Sherry’s involvement in 4-H included raising registered Hereford cattle. When she went to college, Jerry and Katherine added to the herd and continued in the cattle business. Jerry sold real estate through Curtis & Sons, along with maintaining J-K Farms. At this time, Katherine retired from teaching to stay at home with their granddaughter, Reba. They spent countless hours in the truck checking cows and doing chores.
Jerry’s next adventure was working for the US Postal Service. During his tenure at the post office, Jerry continued to build countless friendships and greet every customer with a smile. When Reba began school, Katherine continued to assist on the farm until their grandson, Justin, was born. Upon Jerry’s retirement from the post office, he and Justin worked on trucks, tractors, and ate all the cookies Grandma could make.
Jerry and Katherine spent the next several years traveling to support both grandkids as they exhibited registered Herefords all over the country, as well as the Vernon County Youth Fair and other various 4-H events. They also enjoyed supporting the grandkids in their school activities, including sports, band, and FFA.
In addition to his love of family and farming, Jerry was a loyal fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Royals, and the Nevada Griffons. As a car enthusiast, he had a special place in his heart for his 1927 Model T which he enjoyed exhibiting in many local parades. He also enjoyed riding motorcycles when he was younger and watching old westerns with tough cowboys and gunfights where the good guy always wins.
Above all, Jerry was a man of solid faith. He attended church every week and didn’t miss many opportunities to volunteer his services as needed. Other charities he supported included bell ringing for the Salvation Army, donating at the local blood mobile, working at Bushwhacker Days and the MO State Fair for the Vernon County Cattlemen’s Association, and spending every Thursday evening at the Elk’s bingo hall assisting his many friends. Jerry didn’t miss many fundraising meals at the Eagles’ Lodge or Habitat for Humanity luncheon. His community support was widespread, and he enjoyed every minute he could spend helping others.
Jerry lived a full life that can be summed up by this quote from one of his favorite actors- “When the road looks rough ahead, remember the “Man upstairs” and the word Hope. Hang onto both and ‘tough it out.’”-John Wayne
Survivors include one daughter, Sherry Hurst (Brad), Nevada, two grandchildren, Reba Rapp (Chris), Rockville, MO, and Justin Hurst (Meagan), Nevada; two great-grandchildren, Zak Rapp, and Ralin Rapp; one sister, Kay Gray, Grove, OK; one brother, Jimmie Arnold (Marite), Kernersville, NC; numerous nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; six brothers, Eddie, Orbin, Carl, Eugene, Clifford, and Charles Arnold; three sisters, Imogene McWilliam, Ruby June Callow, and Margaret Kelley; and two infant brothers.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada. Interment will follow in Hume Cemetery in Hume, MO. The family will receive friends from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening at the funeral home.