Jim and Ruth Arnold
Arnold's parents Jim and Ruth Arnold. Photo by Marissa Alejandre
By Nick Trujillo
Staff


Jeff Arnold, a blind McKale Center ticket salesman at the University of Arizona, always looked on the brighter side of life. 

He was always in a happy mood and always made people feel like they were wanted until the day he died May 9 of a brain tumor he had since he was 2 years old. His memorial service was held on June 2, in front of  family and friends in McKale Center. 

One guest who spoke was Bud Foster, an anchor for KOLD News 13.

“When the basketball games would happen, Jeff and I would sit in the stands and (he) would be our run-on commentator,” Foster said. “Whenever the broadcasters would make a mistake Jeff would always be there to correct them. When the refs would make a bad call, Jeff would stand up and yell "I’m blind and I could make a better call than that.”

The mood quickly changed from somber to peaceful. 

UA defensive back Victor Yates also shared words about Arnold. 

“I came across meeting Jeff in the McKale Center Ticket Office,” Yates said. “I walked in and he heard someone say my name and he was like ‘Oh Victor Yates’ and I was like ‘yeah it’s me.’ Then I realized he was blind. So I was like, ‘oh this is cool, a blind person who is really into UA sports.”

Yates also considered Arnold as a “brother in faith” and would meet with him on Wednesdays for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meetings and talk about how God related to their lives. 

Dana Cooper, a fellow “brother in faith,” remembered Arnold fondly.

“He was an extraordinary guy,” Cooper said. “He had a real sense of adventure. He didn’t let his blindness put any limits on him. He was willing to try anything. He loved God and it gave him a lot of hope, a lot of optimism to face his circumstances. In spite of all that, he had a strong assurance that God loved him and was watching out for him.”

As the tumor became more severe, Arnold took the time to do many things he wanted to do, such as paragliding and holding the Stanley Cup above his head.

“Who in their right mind would walk up to the Stanley Cup and hoist it above their head just for the fun of it? ” Cooper asked. "Jeff would."

 


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