A Pictorial Tribute To My Grandfather
Arnold Ray House (10/24/1938 – 04/13/2016)
Yesterday, my family said goodbye to Arnold Ray House, a great man, a wonderful husband, father, brother, grandparent, and great grandparent.
I will say a little more about my grandfather below, but I wanted to share some images from throughout the years.
Clicking on any of the images below will allow you to view as a slideshow. Don’t forget to read the rest of my tribute below the images.
It is really hard to adequately describe my grandfather’s influence on my life. He grew up an Okie, and while he didn’t have an extensive formal education, I can attest to the fact that was a genius in ways this world overlooks. He could build anything, fix anything, analyze anything, and his trade work made him an excellent mathematician. He began his work life as a teenager and bought his first home at the age of 21. How many Ivy Leaguers can say they accomplished that so early without any help?
My virtual second home as a child was the home he built in Angelus Oaks, the first of 2 homes he built himself. I have so many incredible memories of playing outside among the pine trees, enjoying the beautiful deck that spanned the length of the house, and even the futuristic (to a little kid) trash compactor he installed in the kitchen.
At one point, my grandfather decided to start his own business. It was called Arnold House Cabinets and operated out of Mentone, California. I remember hours of playing with his scrap wood and he allowed me to make all kids of creations. He had a nail-gun, which for a kid was like owning your own personal ICBM. He used to joke that where I needed a single nail, I would always drive 3. I used to issue my rebuttal that I needed every one of those nails, but I did concede that operating that nail-gun was pretty amazing.
My grandparents moved to Yuma, in the snowbird community of Fortuna Foothills. The area is a winter host to thousands who spend the colder months away from their primary homes in Canada and the Northern United States. I always joked that my grandparents had as many millionaire neighbors as somebody off Rodeo Drive, but it really wasn’t far from the truth.
Once again, a vacant lot of land became a beautiful home, the second he built by hand. He did literally all of the work himself except the trusses (which required a crane) and the drywall because his back was aching. I have no doubt that if his back wasn’t acting up he would have done the drywall too. He was in his late 60s at this point. He was still very strong.
My grandfather really enjoyed afternoons out on the patio with my grandmother. He set up a bird bath and feeder. Birds flocked to their property. With my grandmother, he admired the visitors and cursed those invasive Eurasian Doves. The bird feeder on my own patio came to fruition because of the time I spent with them.
My grandparents often played dominos on the patio, and I remember him frequently teasing my grandmother and saying she was cheating when he lost. Funny.
It was just recently that I had dinner with my grandparents, and my grandfather kept elbowing me to keep eating. I had way too many pieces of garlic bread. He always made me eat!
I remember recently going out with my grandfather on his ATV/golf cart vehicle. It was Arizona street-legal, complete with license plate. He gave me a lot of ribbing that I sucked at shifting gears in it, you know, us young people going soft. My grandfather was in his mid-70s at this point, riding around the neighborhood. Just remarkable.
In simple terms, my grandfather was one of the easiest persons in the world to have a conversation with. He knew a lot about everything. I have never met a person in the world who could strike up a conversation as easily as him. In his last couple days, be discussed all kinds of things: fishing, my car getting old, places he lived, things he made, and plans for the future. Those conversations were priceless, and I know my entire family feels the same way.
These are just a few of the memories, and I have no doubt I will revisit this post over and over again to add more detail.
This past week has been very sad for our entire family. My grandfather was somebody who had an ease, amiability, and strength that I can only hope to emulate in my later years. He left this world in good spirits, but he leaves an incredible void for everyone who knew him well.
Grandpa, thank you for being a great man, a great example, and a wonderful human being. I am going to miss you greatly. I will do my best to follow in your footsteps.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.