When Nancy Arnold died suddenly, close to Mother’s Day, her family held her hands and encouraged her to take this next step. “Go! Go to the angels!”
Faced with a long wait for heart surgery, while her mind was willing, her body was not. Nancy went, truly in the arms of an angel, and her husband, daughters and grand-daughters bid her farewell.
Though only 58, Nancy Patton Arnold touched medicine in Barrie in almost all of its forms. An R.N. who graduated from the RVH School of Nursing in 1971, Nancy worked in icu, emerge, and various hospital wards. She was the organized, time-bound nurse for several of Barrie’s doctors, starting with Bill Little, Alf Crossland, and Arnie Tikkala. She also maintained a tight ship for Drs Peter Watson, Jake Dick, Jim Bailey and the ‘younger’ docs, Fred Smith, Bill Taylor and Joe Bailey.
Nancy has weighed in more babies, cooed with new parents, held hands in grief and held her own heart in the passing of a senior… she has stood on every paving stone that forms the sidewalk of life. While the bulk of her medical service was in Barrie, she also did stints at Penetang General Hospital and the surgical ward at Parry Sound General.
She was the office stalwart for over a decade for Drs Carl Clarke, Piri Fejes and Nancy Trimble. At the time of her death she was the Assistant Director of Care at Simcoe Terrace Retirement Home on Donald St in Barrie.
To sum up Nancy Arnold is virtually impossible… medical care was at the top of her list, love of her daughters, Sarah and Ashley, love of her husband, retired firefighter Terry Arnold, and new grandma to Kate and Davis… well, it all mattered!
Being the hinge in a medical system wasn’t enough for Nancy and a few years ago she entered the Masters program at University of Toronto, graduating last year with a Masters of Divinity from Wycliffe College… achieving this while still working full time.
Nancy’s was the calm voice when you were having a medical meltdown! She used her commitment to life and her acceptance of death to lead bereavement courses at Trinity Anglican, to minister to her senior residents at Simcoe. She exemplified what it means to love life, whether it was a simple meal of salad greens, or the magnificent gardens that she and Terry built together. She embraced old fashioned values and insisted that her daughters do the same.
The Arnolds lived that kind of family life that most of us dream about. Nancy paced herself to her own work, supported Terry’s multiple interests, and made sure she attended the Central Band concerts and trips whenever she could.
She was planning to live an old life. She was planning to hold the hands of her grand-daughters and play with them down at Centennial Park, as she had with her own wee ones. She was planning to work forever, and to enjoy time with Terry in retirement–all at the same time. She was planning to recover from the heart disease that so threatened her.
But her religious belief carried her right out of her hospital bed, out the door and onto the wings of an angel. She took flight, looking steadfastly ahead, charting her course, as always.