Noblesville WWII vet gets CarmelFest tribute as a grand marshal


By Mark Ambrogi

At age 91 and suffering from Alzheimer’s, Calvin Arnold has his good days and bad days.

His children and the staff at Brookdale Senior Living in Carmel, where he has resided for more than three years, expects July 4 will be good one.

Arnold is slated to be one of the grand marshals for the CarmelFest parade. He will be one of several World War II veterans serving as grand marshal.

Arnold’s son, Mel, 61, and daughter, Denise, both live in Noblesville. Mel said many family members will be attending, including four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Arnold’s younger brother Jim and sister Nancy are coming from Ohio to attend.

Brookdale program coordinator Amanda Ramsey will join Arnold at the parade,

“Amanda is great, she gets along with Dad well,” Mel said. “We’re excited that Carmel is doing this and he gets to be in a parade. Even though he won’t remember it, he’ll be excited to get all the attention.”

Calvin Arnold’s father, Elmer Dennis Arnold, who was born in Carmel, served in the Navy in World War I. E.D. died at age 40 when Calvin was four years old. He was sent to live in Noblesville with his aunt and uncle who owned a funeral home.

Arnold, who had enlisted beforehand, reported to the Navy immediately after graduating from Noblesville High School in 1942.

“He didn’t attend his graduation,” Mel said. “He just went to Great Lakes Naval Academy for boot camp. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.”

The Navy sent him to Purdue to study electrical engineering for three months so he could get the ships ready to go. At age 19, he was in charge of the boiler room, communications and all electricity on the ship.  After the service, he returned to Purdue to get his degree in electrical engineering.

Arnold, who was on the maiden voyage of the first Landing Ship Tank, or LST, spent three years in the South Pacific and was in several invasions, including Okinawa and Guadalcanal.

“The nickname was Long Slow Target because they were always getting torpedoed,” Mel said. “Luckily, his ship never got torpedoed. He was thankful for that and I am, too.”

With his experience in his aunt and uncle’s funeral business, Arnold acted as the funeral director on the ships for all the men who died in service. Arnold started C.D. Arnold Co., Inc., in 1955. It was sold to Midwest Utility Sales in 2011. Mel still works for Midwest Utility.

Calvin’s wife Margaret, a 1944 Noblesville High School graduate, died at 84 in 2010. Calvin and Margaret were then living in Rochester, Ind., in retirement.