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Allen Howard Arkett
Allen Howard Arkett, 94, passed away peacefully on January 8, 2022. Allen was born on December 2, 1927 in East Orange, New Jersey to the late Albert Edgar and Lucy (Sheppard) Arkett. He was born with a beloved twin sister, Elizabeth (Betty), with whom he shared many experiences and would fondly recount stories from their childhood years. He and his sister lived in multiple locations in New Jersey, Ohio, and Connecticut as their parents were dedicated officers in service to The Salvation Army.
After graduation from East Orange High School, 1945, he started college at Lafayette, but shortly thereafter was drafted for service into the United States Army where he served as an instructor and paratrooper at Fort Benning, GA. After military service, he resumed his studies and graduated from Lafayette College, Easton, PA in 1951 with a Mechanical Engineering degree. He went on to become a dedicated employee for Babcock & Wilcox Company for 38 years, initially in New York City later transferring to the Barberton, OH site in 1958. Applying his technical and people skills, he was promoted to Project Manager and traveled abroad, notably Israel, overseeing the installation of B&W boilers, and the construction and startup of several power generation plants.
Allen shared a cherished life with his wife, best friend and devoted partner, Phyllis DesMarais Arkett, for over 70 years. Knowing each other since high school, they reconnected and married in 1951 in East Orange, NJ. Their life together took them to Bryn Mawr and Wayne, PA rearing their first two children, then to Morristown, NJ having their 3rd child, then relocating to Norton, OH in 1958 where their 4th child was born. Phyllis mentioned that he would often think that he was “too hard on his children”, but his children looking back could not have asked for a better father as a role model or husband for their mother. While Allen was a proud professional, his true passion was music, notably the sounds of big band and classical music. Phyllis fondly referred to him as her “musical engineer”. His lifetime love of the cello began at age 6. He enjoyed playing his cello “Marcello” in quartet ensembles, local musicals including South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, and Oklahoma, then later in the Medina Symphony. In song, he lent his smooth alto voice to the harmony of Barbershop quartets in college, jingle commercials for Kuebler Beer in Easton, PA, choir at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Barberton, and frequently would break into song at home.
Allen was a man of various talents and interests, many shared with his wife, family, and friends. He was an avid snow skier, ski jumper, and a founding member of the Akron Ski Club. He loved to swim in the ocean especially along the East coast in Belmar, NJ as a child and later in the Gulf of Mexico at his step-mother’s home in Anna Maria, FL. Allen came from a water-loving family hence his passion for sailing which he shared with Phyllis and family for over 25 years. He named their second boat “Foogus”, a term of endearment for Phyllis coined by her brother. Tennis was an all-time family favorite and once retired, he played regularly with friends at Towpath Tennis Center. Ice skating was a labor of love for Phyllis, the true ice skater, but he proudly skated the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, CA with her despite his better judgement. With his engineer mind, there was little he, as a master tinkerer, would not attempt to build or repair. He passed along to his family his great love of nature and the outdoors, spending time golfing, traveling, camping, and hiking notably in Summit County Metro Parks and pedaling on rail trails. He and Phyllis enjoyed their bicycle outings so much that he would often say he wished he had been born 20 years later because he thoroughly loved riding on the developing rail trail systems.
Allen was a kind-hearted gentleman, ever mindful of those in need and willingly offered a hand or support. He dedicated many years as a faithful member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church serving on the vestry, singing in the choir, Superintendent, and lay reader. He was mindful of his family’s devotion to The Salvation Army by volunteering his time, ringing the bell for the holiday Red Kettle Campaign, and serving on various boards. His love of youth and the great outdoors promoted his volunteerism with the Boy Scouts of America serving as a Cub Master for 20 years.
Along with his parents and step-mother, Louella Kimball Arkett, Allen is preceded in death by his daughter, Lisa Carver; twin sister, Elizabeth (Richard) Lefeber; nephew, Andre Lefeber; step-sister Audrey (Donald) Seiler, step-brother Lyman (Dell) Kimball; brother-in-law, Richard (Margaret) DesMarais. He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, Phyllis; son, Stuart (Marilyn) Arkett; daughters, Jennifer (Lonnie) Arkett, and Casley (Robert) Nagengast; son-in-law, Jon Carver; sister-in-law, Jean (Harold) Somerset; niece, Cheri (Steve McCall) DesMarais; nephew, Jim (Lyn) DesMarais; nephew, Anthony (Pat) Lefeber; grandchildren, Erin, Camille, Gabrielle, Claire, Sara, Keaton, and Paula; great-granddaughter, Ivy; and many other loving family and friends.
Cremation has taken place. Due to the unfortunate impact of Covid, a celebration of Allen’s life will take place at a later date. At this time, you are invited to peruse the website “mooreffh.com” to view his tribute wall, offer condolences, and share memories. The family appreciates your thoughtfulness and expresses their gratitude to the healthcare workers, Ohio Living Rockynol staff and employees for their exemplary care of him during these difficult times. In lieu of flowers and in his memory, please consider a donation to The Salvation Army of Barberton, OH, The Summit Metro Parks Foundation in Akron, OH, Great Trail Council of Boy Scouts of America in Akron, OH, or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Barberton, OH.
Al was a friend, mentor, encourager and philanthropist. Whenever I would call, he would always make me feel like I mattered to him and Phyliss. Knowing him brought joy to my life.
The Salvation Army as well has lost a great supporter. So thankful that I knew Al.
Michael Freeman Jan 21 2022 1:53 PM
I was so sorry to read about Al's passing. Unfortunately, I lost touch with you and Al following the death of my mother. I remember the interesting conversations we shared at St. Andrew's during numerous coffee hours. I always enjoyed Al's cello solos at church. I fondly remember the treasured gift he gave to my daughter and her husband at their wedding reception at the Slovene Center when he quietly appeared and began playing his cello in honor of them! He was a thoughtful and generous man. May God comfort you in your sorrow and bless you with the promise of eternal life made visible through the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Carolyn Kun Rusch Worley Jan 19 2022 4:08 PM
I worked for Al in the mid 1980's for about two years. Of my 39 years at the Babcock and Wilcox company, I had several "bosses" but Al was the best. The word that comes up so often when describing Al is "gentleman". Yes, he was a gentleman, but he was so much more than that. He was intelligent, kind to all, and always strived to make others just a little bit of a better person. I was devastated when Al was transferred to another area within B&W since I had not only lost day to day contact with a great leader but also someone I considered a friend. One personal story will tell you the kind of man that Al was. I was very active in my job and had to travel often. When my wife was about one month away from giving birth to our second child, Al gave me an order. He said, " Dick you are not allowed to travel for the next month until that baby is born. The job will always be here, but you need to be with your family and take care of them now " Al's order to me showed not only his kindness, but the proper perspective he had in life. I will miss you my friend and mentor. You have made such an important impact on my life. Condolences to Phyllis and to the extended Arkett family.
Dick Stockton Jan 18 2022 4:11 PM
What a wonderful tribute to a kind man. I remember playing music with him at St. Andrew's - he was always so kind to me. Prayers to you, Phyllis.
Christine Thompson Elmore Jan 17 2022 6:50 PM
Allen was a very dear friend and fellow choir member of my mom, Mary Paolano, who was organist at St. Andrews for many years. All of us fondly knew Allen, Phyllis, and the kids from Norton Schools. Such a wonderful family. I drove past your white house last summer and thought, as I always have, the Arketts live there.
Allen was always such a kind man and it seems from his love of family and many activities that he lead a rich and fulfilling life. I know he will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies to all of you.
Jane Paolano-Mitchell Jan 17 2022 3:42 PM
Who can forget choir rehearsals at St. Andrews and our Cello/Organ duets, especially the time he and I tried playing 2 different Mozart pieces. He was a blessing and took me under his wing. Bob and I had many fun times with Al and Phyllis either hiking the fall Metro hikes or attending concerts. May God be with you, Phyllis.
Barbara Hohenshil Jan 17 2022 2:37 PM
I told your father that if there was every anyone else who I would choose to be my dad other than my own wonderful father, that it would be him. He radiated kindness, integrity and humor: when I think of him I think of him smiling.. I admired him greatly and sang with him in the choir at St. Andrew's for more than 2 decades. His cello playing at church was always a highlight. My father served as priest at St. Andrew's for 21 years, and admired Al greatly. In his memory book he wrote that Al "exemplifies true devotion to the Lord and His church, coupled with willing and conscientious service to God and man in countless parish and community endeavors. He is a tireless worker for the Lord in every task he undertakes. Al has been a loyal and faithful friend for 25 years. He is a person of complete integrity and uprightness. His helpful insights in many matters have been most helpful to me. I know of no finer Christian layman than Allen H. Arkett!" Truly an honor to know this fine gentleman.
Liz Knapp August Jan 16 2022 5:15 PM
Condolences to the Arkett family. Allen will be fondly remembered and I hope those memories bring you peace. I'll always remember him teaching me how to ski, playing in the big Norton house with Casley and even my time with him at Rockynol. What a special childhood we had and are able to thank our Parents for. Thoughts and Prayers. Jan Koblenzer.
jan koblenzer Jan 16 2022 5:00 PM
A wonderful man whose fine life was well lived. We are honored to have known him.
Jeff and Francesca Peters Jan 16 2022 11:27 AM
We loved Allen, a gentleman always, a good friend for more than 40 years, and a fun guy to ski with. We knew Phylilis and Allen and family through the Akron Ski Club and enjoyed many fun hours on our club hill. As music lovers we all were frequent visitors to Blossom Music Center. We share the sorrow of the family but feel so very blessed to have known Allen as the remarkable man he was. With loving hearts, Ruth and Bill Apitz
Ruth and Bill Apitz Jan 16 2022 11:20 AM