Merrill Knighton Arnold, 85, of Acworth, GA, passed away at Kennestone Hospital on Saturday evening, October 21, 2017. He was born in Cuthbert, GA on September 11, 1932, the eldest son of Isaac and Mary Knighton Arnold. He was raised in Benevolence, GA on what is affectionately known by his family as “The Farm.” He graduated from Shellman High School in 1949, and from the University of Georgia in 1953. Following his graduation, he entered the US Army as a First Lieutenant at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC.
He married Agnes Jane Garrett on Christmas Eve in 1953, and they moved to Atlanta, where Merrill attended graduate school at Georgia State University. He went on to establish a successful career in sales for a number of national organizations, including Robinson Humphrey, Litton Industries, and Dale Carnegie and Associates. While with the Dale Carnegie organizations, he trained thousands of adults in skills including sales techniques, personal improvement, and strategic planning for hospitals, banks, and manufacturing enterprises. Merrill was the author of two self-published books, a career guide entitled Shape Your Career, and a mystery novel, Deep Secrets in Tall Pines, which was completed shortly after his 80th birthday, and was set in a small South Georgia town, much like the one where he grew up.
After years of living and working in the Southwest Georgia town of Albany, where he resided with his wife and five sons, they moved to Acworth, GA in 1977. Merrill was well-known in the community for his engaging personality and keen intellect, as well as his devotion to his family and friends. He was also known for his many home improvement projects that usually involved extensive demolition, resulting in innovative new architecture. A dedicated family man, Merrill will be remembered for his remarkable, enthusiastic love for his children, and especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In addition to his roles as husband, father, and grandfather, Merrill was a teacher, mentor, encourager, and friend to his family and community.
Merrill was preceded in death by his parents and his grandson, Elliott Arnold. He is survived by his wife and their five sons and daughters-in-law, David and Annette, Drew and Susan, Jay and Cindy, Rusty and Jodi, and Robert and Melissa, thirteen grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, his brother Bob, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation will be held Tuesday October 24th from 2 pm until 8 pm at the home of Merrill and Jane Arnold. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, November 24th. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Mowat-Wilson Syndrome Foundation via mowat-wilson.org. Condolences can be left for the family at www.GeorgiaFuneralCare.com.