Arnold, John E. 1940-2019

TOPEKA, Kan. John E. Arnold, 79, Topeka, passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 4, 2019.

John was born on Jan. 4, 1940, in Atchison, Kansas, to George and Iva "Audrey" Bailey Arnold.

A graduate of Atchison High School, he enjoyed performing in the band, playing basketball and running track. High school classmates remain dear friends today.

John started a life of service by answering the call from JFK, joining the Peace Corps and serving in the Philippines, from 1962 to 1964. That experience shaped his life, but most importantly, led to him meeting his wife, Kaye.

They were married in 1965. Kaye preceded him in death in 2007

John was a passionate Jayhawk, graduating from KU with a bachelors in liberal arts, in 1962, and a masters degree in public administration, in 1965.

During Johns service in local government, he was recognized as a pioneer and innovator. His career took him around the country, from Atchison, to Texarkana, Texas, Titusville, Florida, and Little Rock, Arkansas. John served as city manager in Minot, North Dakota, from 1972 to 1977, Fort Collins, Colorado, from 1977 to 1985, and Eureka, California, from 1992 to 1996. He was the first executive director of the E-470 Authority, that built the E-470 highway, in Denver. John served as chief administrative officer, in Topeka, from 1998 until retirement, in 2002.

John was proud of his legacy in the places he lived, but also treasured the connections he made working together with mayors and city councilmembers, city staff, colleagues and community members. He kept in touch with people regularly, sometimes with an emailed article, news clipping, or his own commentary.

During retirement, John focused on his passions: becoming a published author, playing golf, enjoying food and drink with friends, traveling often to visit family, and following Kansas basketball.

As a drummer, guitarist, and improvisational pianist, John instilled a love of music in his family.

He also enjoyed sports, whether shooting baskets or throwing a football with his sons, playing a game of golf whenever he could, watching the Sunday football game, or sailing on his boat, the Jayhawk.

John and Kaye also loved to dance, a talent that unfortunately skipped a generation.

John is survived by: his sons, Jay (Mary Beth) and L.T.; granddaughters, Audrey, Carmen and Scarlett; and dear friend and companion, Judy Morris.

He will be dearly missed by cousins, nieces, in-laws, and friends, here and around the country.

Memorial service will be 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Rd., Topeka KS 66614, with visitation half an hour prior.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Atchison Historical Society, sent in care of the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent online to As published in the Atchison Globe.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.