Les Arnold, resident of Durango since 2016 passed peacefully surrounded by family in early January at Mercy Hospital.
Born in 1942 in Phoenix, Arizona to Walter and Lahoma Arnold.
Raised and educated in Phoenix, Arizona. Inducted into the National Honor Society at Camelback High School. Lettered for three years in track and field.
Graduated from Arizona State University in 1964 with a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering. Elected to Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and received the Outstanding Civil Engineering Graduate Award from the Arizona Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Shortly after graduation, he was commissioned Ensign in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Les served tours of duty in Texas and Hawaii and left the Navy as a Lieutenant in 1969.
After spending 6 years in private industry, Les joined the Army Corps of Engineers at the Albuquerque District in 1975. His tours with the Corps included 4 years in Saudi Arabia and 2 ½ years at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. At that project, Les was the underground resident engineer for construction supporting the experimental work of Sandia National Laboratory.
While working in Albuquerque, Les completed his MBA at the University of New Mexico on a part time basis.
Retiring from the Corps of Engineers in 1997, Les expanded his thoroughbred horse breeding and racing business in Los Lunas, New Mexico until 2016. His small operation was successful in breeding and racing 2 stakes winners and owning another stakes winner. A majority of his horses were winners and they had enough winnings to make the operation a success. He was a member of the New Mexico Horse Breeders Association throughout this enterprise.
In 2016 Les and Barbara moved to Durango, Colorado to be near Barbara’s son and his family to enjoy the four corners lifestyle of skiing, hiking, and fishing. In Durango he joined the Durango Bridge Club and enjoyed playing duplicate bridge several times a week.
In addition to his horse interests, Les was active in hunting, fishing, and senior tennis. He developed a love for pleasure reading. He always felt that his formal education was very narrow in focus and wished to broaden his view of the liberal arts. He was also a huge fan of opera and attended the Santa Fe Opera as well as Opera Southwest. Pavarotti was his favorite of all time.
Les leaves behind his wife Barbara, a great travel companion; son Martin (Ann, William and Joseph), and daughter Denise Brunacini (Richard) and stepson Justin Bogan (Ingrid Alt and Makayla). Also surviving him are nephew Dean Hall (Sherry) and niece Darcy Simmons (Ken and Austin).
In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to Habitat for Humanity in Les’ name. Interment of Les’ cremains will be at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on April 24 at 11:00 a.m. Care entrusted to Hood Mortuary, www.hoodmortuary.com in Durango, Colorado.