• Sunday, October 1, 2023

In Memoriam


Lynwood F. Arnold, Jr., 72, did not want to live forever, but he did want to live long enough to create more memories and witness more family milestones. Our Lord had other plans. On August 19, 2020, Lynwood passed unexpectedly from complications relating to his recent cancer diagnosis.

Lynwood is survived by his wife, Laura Pileggi Arnold; daughters, Mia Arnold of Washington, DC, and Amanda Arnold Sansone of Tampa; grandchildren, Charlie and Adelaide Sansone of Tampa; sister, Pamela Milhan (Randy) of Seminole; aunt, Nancy Wright of Deltona; mother-in-law, Rosetta Pileggi of Tallahassee; brother-in-law, David Pileggi (Carol) of Jerusalem, Israel; brother-in-law, Richard Pileggi (Tess) of Tallahassee; and sister-in-law, Michelle Roberts (Chris) of Trail, Missouri. He was also beloved by many nieces, nephews, cousins, close family friends, and his work family.

Lynwood was born in Jacksonville, Florida, April 20, 1948, to Lynwood F. Arnold Sr. and Elsie Ferguson Arnold. He was very proud to be a fifth generation Floridian. Lynwood was a 1965 graduate of Landon High School. Following in his father's footsteps, he was a 1969 graduate of Stetson University. When not studying, he honed his party planning craft with his Sigma Nu fraternity brothers. One of his favorite parties included a staircase waterfall that spilled into a pool filled with goldfish. The poor goldfish did not fare well that evening.

Rather than continue party planning pursuits, Lynwood enrolled in law school first at the University of Florida then at Florida State University. Lynwood, who was board-certified, practiced real estate and probate litigation in Tampa and Tallahassee. He helped form the Bay Area Real Estate Council and was its first president. In addition to the Leon and Hillsborough County Bar Associations, Lynwood dedicated significant time to The Florida Bar's Real Property Probation and Trust Law section and served on its Executive Council. Over the years, he chaired too many committees to list. His devotion to pro bono work was just as steadfast and only matched by his devotion to mentoring young lawyers, many of whom reached out to him after his diagnosis.

Lynwood's professional pursuits paled in his efforts to live his life to the fullest and learn as much as possible. Daily, he read at least the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Tallahassee Democrat, and the Tampa Bay Times. He bombarded his wife and daughters with an abundance of "must read" articles -- so many that they readily admit to only reading a fraction.

Lynwood, the son of a member of the Florida Legislature, was a true political junkie. He called Election Day his Super Bowl. Election Day was such an important day to him that his daughters knew to call to wish him a happy holiday and gauge his level of excitement or frustration.

Lynwood liked to save the best for last and his best was his time with his family and friends. Lynwood and Laura married in Key West 25 years ago, and their marriage was filled with spontaneity, love, and compassion. He and Laura created beautiful memories with their shared love of travel, hosting large family gatherings, and their Christian faith.

Lynwood was a cradle to grave Episcopalian. After moving to Tallahassee, he and Laura joined St. John's Episcopal Church. He served on the vestry and many committees. He was dedicated to the church's ministry in Cuba. As a member of the Tower Bellringers Guild, Lynwood rang the church's fourteen tower bells as others had since 1915.

Lynwood cherished his relationships with his two daughters, Amanda and Mia. Born nineteen years apart, both daughters had the benefit of his undivided attention during their formative years. He succeeded in teaching them to be strong, independent, and resilient. Amanda is a federal judge in Tampa and Mia is employed by the United Nations Foundation. Talking about his girls put a twinkle in his eye and a beaming smile across his face. Their gift to him will be continuing his genealogy research (his obsession perhaps at least partly because it involved trips to Key West).

His two grandchildren boast he had a perfect Donald Duck impression and gave the best bear hugs. What they will not tell you is he also was the manners police and no meal was complete without at least one gentle manners reminder. His full white beard in recent years led his granddaughter to say he may be Santa Claus. He loved adventures with his grandchildren and recently took them hiking and kayaking.

Lynwood loved music and especially loved how lyrics could help you cope with your emotions. In the words of Phil Lesh from Box of Rain, one of Lynwood's favorite songs and especially appropriate in light of his recent diagnosis, "Such a long long time to be gone and a short time to be there." We know we were lucky to have him for 72 years, but we wish we had him longer.

In lieu of flowers, Lynwood would rather you hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them. If you insist on making a donation in his honor, three charities closest to his heart are Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee (www.legalaidtallahassee.org), Bay Area Legal Services (www.bals.org), and Cuban missions supported by St. John's Episcopal Church (www.saint-john.org).