Gary Norman Arnold, 75, Columbia, Mo., died Thursday, February 27, 2020 in Hialeah, Fla., after a brief illness.

Gary was born March 3, 1944 on the Hartsburg hill to Norman and Dorothy Sapp Arnold.  He graduated from Ashland High School in 1961 and worked in construction.  A salesman stopped at the log cabin he and his brothers had just wired for electricity, and persuaded them to sign up for IBM school.  Gary was one of the early mainframe programmers in Columbia, working for MFA, Inc. and Shelter Insurance.

After buying an old loader to dig a pond, he followed in his dad’s tracks, switching careers in the 70s. He started Gary Arnold Excavating, doing residential work and subcontracting with the City of Columbia.  He still loved crawling up on a machine to move dirt, being outdoors and Cedar Creek, tinkering with equipment, playing poker with family and friends and Pepsi.

In 1964, he married Janet Hamilton. They had two children, Lisa Arnold (Scott Schooler), and Greg  Arnold, both of Ashland, Mo.  In 1979, he acquired two stepchildren, Jill Moore (Brent), and Seth  Paul (Andrea), both of Columbia, Mo., when he married Jan Paul.  In 1981, his youngest son, Andrew  Arnold, Chandler, Az., was born.  He has one special granddaughter, Katy Winscott Boyce (Bryan)  Ashland. He is survived by siblings Jerry Arnold, Dominican Republic; Ellen Garrett, Columbia and Mary (Joe) Short, Ashland and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Wayne and Richard, and son-in-law, Charlie Winscott.

He is also survived by stepgrandsons, Jack and Max Loy, and his former wives. In recent years, he had a special relationship with Ania and Joe Ratliff and their mom, Tiffany Barney, of Columbia.

A celebration of life will take place at a later date as Gary would have wanted everyone to get in a good day’s work. In lieu of donations, lend a helping hand to a friend or neighbor like he always did.