James Arnold of Kula, Hawaii, was one of the best in the upholstery business

Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 10:04 p.m. CDT; updated 10:25 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 29, 2014

COLUMBIA — James E. Arnold was one of the greatest blessings his wife, Deborah Arnold, received in her life.

James ArnoldMr. and Mrs. Arnold kept their love strong during the 36 years they were together. They balanced each other and faced life as a team, Deborah Arnold said.

"We were as a pair of oxen carrying the load of life, equally shared between us,” Deborah Arnold said in a letter. "We balanced each other when the load became too heavy, and we shared the light loads, knowing the ease and joy of each other."

James E. Arnold of Kula, Hawaii, died Friday, May 23, 2014, at the Maui Memorial Medical Center. He was 68.

Mr. Arnold was born in Joplin. His family decided to bury him in Columbia, next to his son at the Memorial Park Cemetery.

Watching NASCAR, football and the cooking channel were some of the activities Mr. Arnold enjoyed. He also owned an upholstery shop in Topeka, Kan., and was one of the best in the business, his wife said.

Before Deborah Arnold met her husband, she was raising two sons on her own. Although she tried to “send him on his way,” Mr. Arnold was persistent.

"I prayed for someone to love me and help me though life. James was the answer to my prayers,” Deborah Arnold said.

Mr. Arnold is survived by his wife, Deborah , of Kula, Hawaii; two sons, James Branstetter, of Topeka, Kan., and Michael Branstetter, of Kula, Hawaii; and six grandchildren.

His other son, Robert Arnold, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday at  Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Funeral services will follow at 2 p.m. at the some location. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia.

Memorial donations can be made to Children’s Mercy Hospital, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.

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