Mary Alice Cone Arnold passed from this life Nov. 29, 2023 at the age of 94 in Houston, Tx. She was born Sept. 17, 1929 in Gonzales, Tx. to Herman and Alice Cone and was the eldest of three sisters. She attended the Gonzales public schools and from them developed an appreciation of music. She loved getting to conduct her elementary school choral group in a contest and later enjoyed playing percussion (the bell lyre and the drums) in the Gonzales Apache High School Band. She graduated in 1946 as Salutatorian in her class of just over 70.
Mary Alice then attended the Univ. of Tx. at Austin where, in 1950, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics with a focus on Child Development. WWII had only just ended, a time when many women had been working in factories, and the need for proper care of young children was now appreciated.
Mary Alice’s first job was in Corpus Christi teaching a pre-school class within Roy Miller High School which served the purpose of allowing high school students to observe young children presumably for their own home economics classes. But she didn’t stay long, because the following school year in Sept. 1951, she married Charles Arnold, a graduate student back at UT whom she had been dating. So, she moved back to Austin, learned “shorthand” allowing her to do clerical work at Bergstrom Air Force Base, and later returned to teaching preschool. In spring of 1953, she was asked by the head of the Child Development Department to teach a college class in Children’s Play and Play Equipment to undergrads, which she did!
Upon Charles’s PhD graduation, the now family of three moved to Houston. Ultimately, Mary Alice and Charles became the parents to four sons and one daughter. Mary Alice worked as a pre-school teacher again for a while but, ultimately, stopped to focus on her family.
Our family was blessed to have two parents so interested and involved with their kids’ activities. Charles coached Little League and church basketball, read bedtime stories, and helped with homework. Mary Alice attended the games, encouraged participation in Scouts, and even became a Cub Scout Den Mother and a Brownie and Junior Scout Leader. She was often a room mother while her kids were in elementary school. She fixed school lunches every morning and dinner every evening. She drove kids to and from often multiple schools each morning and afternoon. She kept us nicely dressed, planned birthday parties, and had to shop for too many people at Christmas! Throughout her life she helped care for extended family as well.
Mary Alice and Charles developed an appreciation for the arts attending plays, operas, and ballets. Mary Alice encouraged any of her children who were interested to participate in band, music lessons, and dance lessons--and shuttled them back and forth.
To augment her husband’s career, Mary Alice participated in the Women’s Auxiliary affiliated with the Society of Petroleum Engineers in which Charles participated. She arranged each year for Charles to speak about a career in petroleum or chemical engineering to interested high school seniors out at U of H. She worked a number of years on the scholarship committee to decide who among deserving students should receive scholarships for studying those fields. She ultimately became president of the entire group which was quite large in the 80s.
Mary Alice and Charles were both active at Bethany Christian Church. Mary Alice taught the 3yr old class and later the 5yr olds for any number of years in the 60s and early 70s. After retiring from that, she returned to her former love of music and joined the choir where she stayed for approx. 45 years both singing and playing bells. She led the CWF as president on two different occasions and arranged fundraiser style shows. She also served as an Elder.
Mary Alice and Charles were dearly loved by their five children and ten grandchildren, and Mary Alice lived long enough to see ten great grandchildren. She is survived by her sons Bill, Bruce, Brent and Bob Arnold and her daughter Janet Arnold Frame, together with their respective spouses, children and grandchildren.
Mom and Dad, you will live in our hearts.