Archive for July 12th, 2021

Fred Arnold

We lost a great one last week.  Fred Arnold is no longer with us. My heart goes out to his lovely, Mona, and his three kids Jess, Beth, Bill and all that were close to him.  This is such a sudden and tragic loss. 

I have known Fred for 27 years.  He was one cool dude.  I always got along with him.   His ex was Paula Arnold.  I would see him regularly when Paula and I were a thing.  He would come by Paula’s and pick-up or drop off the kids. I would also see him at his kids’ parties and stuff. 

Fred worked for Minute Maid which is part of the Coca Cola family.  When Minute Maid got the naming rights at The Yard twenty years ago, Fred was the force in charge of putting together Minute Maid’s presence at the ballpark.  Signage, promotions, activities, pregame on the field, you name it. I would run into him all the time at games. He was well liked and respected by the Astros front office and players.  He was like family to them. 

Here is what his son Jess posted this past Friday: 

On Wednesday morning, after a night out in New Orleans with his favorite girl at his favorite restaurant, and after more than one gin martini, my Dad, Fred Arnold, flew away to join that great second line in the sky.  

He died much as he lived – fast and not feeling any pain. He was glorious. He went gloriously.  

My dad was a father to BethBill and I. He was a husband of 28 years to Ramona. He was a Big to his grandkids Waylon, Hayes, and Avery. He was loved by Paula and Theo and Ryan and Allann and Alisa and many of you. He was a son to Olan and Queen and a grandson and great-grandson and great-great grandson to a long line of Irish poets, Scottish highlanders, and Viking berzerkers.  

My dad was one of the true Renaissance men. He wore many different hats and did many many different things. The way I’ll remember it, he excelled at all of them, even when he obviously sucked (singing, skiing, golf, to name a few).  

When I was a kid, he was a story reader and an ant-bed burner. He was a playground builder and a bicycle pusher. He was wise lesson giver and stupid kid ass-beater. He was a Ford truck driver, a Miller Lite drinker, and a stinky cigar smoker (all at the same time, of course). He was a worm hooker and a toy fixer. He was a scratchy beard hugger and a butt-gooser. He was a little league cheerer and a constant picture taker. He was my Dad.  

I learned later that he was a concrete truck driver. He was an equipment hauler and Chaka Kahn bouncer. He was a sign builder and a house constructor. When he first started at Minute Maid, he was a Hi-C box designer and weird rap song writer for corporate meetings.  

He was the Juiceman. He was a shit-runner for Coca-Cola at countless Olympics.  

He was Mr. Minute Maid as far as the Astros were concerned. He was an omelette cooker for The Killer B’s and a clubhouse whisky drinker with Phil Garner and Jamie Hildreth. He was a ballpark builder and a prolific scholarship giver with the Grand Slam for Youth Baseball. He was a brand ambassador and a good-faith generator. He was a 2017 World Series ring bearer without being a trash can banger.  

As Shiela Jackson Lee once famously put it – he was The Man.  

He was a Rebel, a Bearkat, and a Cougar. When his kids were in school he was a Redskin, and Aggie, and an Owl.  

He was an Oxford Circus-er. He was a thumping bass strummer and a peddle steel picker. He was a Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Hank-er. I’m sure he had visions of being a lead singer, but like I said before, his vocals were in the shitter.  

He was a globe trotter. He was a giant-walker in Guatemala and a pit-sweater in Greece. He was an Aussie out-drinker and an Atlanta out-charmer. He was a New Zealand out-Ross-er and a Italian out-gypsyer. He was smoother than the ice in Norway and got weirder than the hentai in Japan. If genetics give any indication, he was an international heart-breaker and legendary dream-maker. If a country had air-conditioning, he would be their valiant conquerer. If not, that was their problem.  

He was a chopper rider and a classic car trophy winner. He was a huge tipper, double Crown shooter, and big love giver. He was a taco killer and a grease trapper.  

He was a million weird-ass friends haver. A bona-fide freak collector. (You all know who you are. His heart was full of every one of you.) 

He was my Dad. Built for comfort, not for speed. Nothing ever effected him, him, him. This would be a great place for a bar, or a restaurant. Wrong-o Bong-o, and a million other Fred-isms that I’ll find myself reflexively repeating until it’s my turn.  

I hate that he’s dead. He was way too cool for that.  

I was lucky to be his son. I was even more fortunate that I could call him my friend. Now I just wish I could call him.  

I honestly never knew what it was to miss someone.  

He was my Dad. The Man.  

I love you, Dad.  

I’ll see you in that great gig in the sky. Hallelujah, by and by.  

Who will bail me out of jail now? 

Like Jess said, Fred’s gig with Minute Maid required him to attend and work at the Olympics like for a month at a time. How cool is that? He traveled to Sidney, Atlanta and other Olympic venues.  When his kids got old enough, Fred took them to the Summer Olympics and put them to work at the Olympic Village.  They got paid, got to attend the Olympics and meet world class athletes.  They would hand out water and juice to the athletes as they were lined up for the Opening Ceremonies.  How cool is that and how cool to have your Dad provide you with that experience? 

The last time I saw Fred was after Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.  I had parked my car at a Northside station off of the Metro Rail Line. It was like 1:30 am and I was exiting the rail car and he and Mona were exiting the other rail car.  I gave him a shoutout and he said he and Mona were fixing to try to Uber home.  I said nope and gave them a ride home.  They also lived in the Heights off of Yale and Eighth.  

Fred retired before the Astros won the World Series.  The Astros didn’t forget his contributions and awarded Fred a well-deserved World Series ring. 

He was a great husband to Mona.  A great Dad and Grand Dad.  A great man.  He will be missed. A lot. 

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