John Arnold Phillip Snygg was born September 7, 1924 in Round Rock, Texas. He died July 29, 2015 at peace with his place in the world.
He had only one sibling, Bertha Viola, two years younger. Their parents, Sven Johan (John) and Alma Rosa Viola Axelsson Snygg were both from Sweden and were prosperous members of the Palm Valley Lutheran community.
Sven died when Arnold was only 4 and his earliest memory is that of his father in the casket with his little sister at his side saying "Papa suva" (Papa sleeps). Arnold's mother took her family back to Sweden for a long visit; returning in September of 1931 just in time for Arnold to start school at the age of 7 in a strange land and having never spoken English. After this first difficult year Arnold was a regular American boy; swimming in Brushy Creek, going barefoot and making friends.
In the 30's Round Rock was a village where kids were free to explore their world at will. Arnold collected fossils and arrowheads along Brushy Creek and even walked through the hobo camp to pick pecans. He had all manner of pets: a female German Shepard named Bjorn, a billy goat, a duck, a flying squirrel, and a crow that followed him around like a puppy.
During the Depression when Arnold was in school he worked at Stockbridge Grocery store and on the family farm in West Texas.
After the raid on Pearl Harbor Arnold eagerly signed up for the draft and served on a destroyer in the Pacific. It was while in the Navy that Arnold noticed that the initials of his full name spelled JAPS and he changed his name to Arnold John.
After the war Arnold took advantage of the G.I. Bill, majoring in engineering at U.T. Austin. It was there that he met and married Dorothy Kinate just as his G.I. Bill benefits were expiring. They had many good years together and had three children: Cathy, John and Ann. They knew all the stages of togetherness; young love, raising a family, making friends, gardening, traveling, playing scrabble and bridge and enjoying each others's company. They were as one.
Arnold's work on large, complex weapon systems and Project Apollo required a lot of moving and uprooting of the family: Denver, Minnesota, Cape Canaveral, Houston, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. It was in Minnesota Arnold became a Catholic. Dorothy was a big influence in that regard, as were her two aunts who were nuns.
Arnold's most important volunteering works were: an elected director of a union in Minnesota, an environmentalist in the stinky area east of Houston and working with the working poor in the Saint Vincent de Paul Society at Saint Theresa's Church.
In February of 2008 Arnold and Dorothy lost their son John to cancer, and Dorothy died in September 2010. Except for these tragedies, Arnold gives thanks for a long and happy life and to those that made it so.