Colonel Wilson T. “Thom” Arnold, a proud Air Force veteran, passed away Saturday, July 8, 2023 after an ongoing battle with cancer.
Thom was born in Southport, NC on June 9th, 1939 to Alfred “Wilson” Arnold, and Annie Emma Inman Arnold. He grew up in Supply, NC and graduated from Shallotte High School.
He continued his education at East Carolina College, now University, where he majored in Science and
He minored in Math. Thom was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, and met his future wife, Judy, during a fraternity beach weekend. While at East Carolina he was a member of the Air Force ROTC, and was commissioned at graduation.
Thom pursued a career in the United States Air Force where he served as a helicopter rescue pilot, worked in munitions maintenance, on pre-inspections teams, in consolidated aircraft maintenance, and logistics. During his career he received numerous ribbons and commendations which included the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.
He married Judy on December 21st, 1963. Daughter Thommi was born in 1965, and Karen in 1967. They travelled the world together for Thom’s 28 years of service.
Upon retirement in 1989, Thom returned to Brunswick County. In 1990, he began working for Century 21, Sunset Beach, and was a top selling realtor until he retired in 2003.
Thom was an avid fisherman and loved being out on the water whenever he was able. Woodworking was one of his talents, and he was a Jack of all trades. He was a Charter member of American Legion Post 550, in Shallotte.
He called Camp United Methodist, Shallotte, NC his church home. Thom served on many committees and was an active participant in the United Methodist Men.
Thom was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Judy, of the home; Thommi and Karen, and their husbands: Jim Hendricks and Rob Lenton, along with many close family members, friends and neighbors.
Anyone who knew Thom knew him as a loving husband, and father; a giving, patient, and faith filled man. He did not draw attention to himself, but was and always will be his family’s hero.
A full military honors funeral will be conducted at Camp UMC, 4807 Main Street, Shallotte, NC at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 15th. Interment in the church columbarium will be immediately after, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the charity of your choice.
The family extends their thanks to the many family and friends, as well as Thom’s numerous doctors, nurses, and Lower Cape Fear Hospice staff.
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