On August 12, 2019 at his home, John went to his eternal home with the Lord. John and his wife, Muriel moved in May 2019 from their lifelong residence in St. Petersburg, FL to Sparta, TN where he lived with daughter Barbara and husband Chuck.
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John was born in Miami, FL and lived in Florida all his life prior to coming to Sparta, TN. As a teen in St. Petersburg, John worked as a waiter at the impressive Coliseum and got to serve many celebrities! John served in the United States Army during WW11 and received training as an engineer with deployment to Italy to serve in the Italian theater of operations in charge of dynamite/explosions. Upon returning to the United States, John worked in accounting and begun his love and appreciation of classical music and opera. John sang bass roles with opera companies in North Carolina and Florida. One of his highlights was singing the bass role of the Doctor in the opera La Traviata that played in Tampa, FL in 1956. It was during this time John met the love of his life, Muriel. He was offered an opportunity to sing with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1956 but turned it down in order to marry Muriel and become a father to her two children, Pauline and William. The next year the couple welcomed their daughter Barbara.
John rose to work as an industrial engineer in charge of renovation for General Telephone in Tampa, FL where he retired in 1986. After retiring John served as an Arbitrator with The Better Business Bureau of West Florida handling Lemon Law cases and other consumer disputes.
Throughout their marriage John and Muriel traveled extensively especially enjoying cruises, vising Muriel’s homeland of Panama, and family vacations in Highland, NC.
John loved his family with a passion and protectiveness. He truly modeled the role of husband, father, and grandfather. John was always the solid force behind Muriel being content to encourage her dreams. John never lost his love of opera and it was common to hear him practice or listen to one of his favorite composers, Rachmaninoff.
He was preceded in death, just three days prior by his wife of 62 years, Muriel. He was also preceded in death by Father, John Roland Whitman, Mother Cleo Whitman Pickett, and son William Arnold Sr.
He is survived by:
Daughter Barbara Lancaster (Chuck) of Sparta, TN
Daughter- Pauline Arnold of Walling
Sister-in-law Frances Haile (David) of Blairsville, GA
Grandsons- John Arnold (Amy) of Trinity, NC, William Arnold Jr. (Ashley) of High Springs, FL, Devin Umberger (Rebecca) of Cookeville, TN, Teague Umberger (Ashley) of Doyle, TN.
Step-grandson- Ryan Lancaster (Morgan) of Inverness, FL. Additionally, John had many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews. He will leave behind many friends and acquaintances.
His family wishes to thank Avalon Hospice, Hamptons Crossroads Baptist Church family, and Lisa Gibson for her special help during this time. A celebration of John and Muriel’s life will be held on a later date.
Online condolences may be made to the family at oaklawnmemorial.com