Dr. Ernest Arnold, former PRTVC president, dies

Ernest J. Arnold, 96, of Columbus and Montreat, North Carolina, died September 17, 2009 at Tryon Estates Life-Care Community in Columbus. He was married to Frances Putnam for 70 years.

He was born July 31, 1913, in Marble Valley, Alabama, the seventh son of the late Henry M. and Van Attie Groce Arnold. He was educated at Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina and Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. Presbyterian College awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 1958.

A resident of Decatur, Georgia for more than fifty years, Dr. Arnold, an ordained Presbyterian ministry, spent his professional career in the area of ecumenical inter-church communications.

Following his ordination he co-founded the North Carolina Council of Churches, located on the Duke University campus. He served as its director for eight years. This was followed by the position of Assistant to the President of Davidson College.

In 1951, while director of the southeastern office of the National Council of Churches, he joined a group of denominational executives in the creation of the Protestant Radio & Television Center (PRTVC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Here he served as president until 1973. [PRTVC produced The Protestant Hour radio program and eventually became the Alliance for Christian Media, the parent organization of Day1.]

During this same period he co-founded TRAV, the television-radio audio-visual arm of the Presbyterian Church. U.S., and served as its first director.

For more than forty-eight years Dr. Arnold managed two non-profit charitable foundations established by a generous family who wished to give world-wide to religious, health and educational institutions. In retirement he remained a member of Atlanta presbytery, having served on year as its Moderator. He was a Rotarian for forty-one years.

In 2000 Dr. Arnold and his wife, Frances, retired to Tryon Estates in Columbus, North Carolina. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Philip Arnold of Montreat, NC, a daughter, Judy Moore of Columbus, NC, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Interment will be in a graveside service at the cemetery of the Cameron NC Presbyterian Church. The family requests no flowers. A memorial service will be held in the Tryon Estates auditorium on Saturday September 26, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Memorial gifts may be given to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, or to a charity of one's choice.