Michael Edward Arrington, of Rome, Georgia, went to be with the Lord on October 2, 2021, after a courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease. Mike was born October 1, 1945, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The son of Eugene Hoyle Arrington and Mary Walker Arrington. Mike had many childhood adventures at The University of Arkansas Peach Experiment Station where his family lived and his father served as director. He graduated from Nashville High School in Nashville, Arkansas in 1963. He attended the University of Arkansas where he received undergraduate (1967), Masters (1970), and PhD degrees (1983) all in history. Mike enjoyed sharing the story of how he met the love of his life, Pamela Diane Norwood. He often spoke of how he noticed her years before in junior high when he saw her playing basketball in a game between rival towns, but it was not until college that he mustered the courage to ask her for a date. Mike and Pam married on August 24, 1969, and moved to Missouri and Florida in their first years of marriage before settling in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Both Mike and Pam were employed at Ouachita Baptist University for 28 years. Mike served many years as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Ouachita. Through his work, his wisdom affected the lives of countless college students through encouragement and, if needed, tough love. He also enjoyed meaningful and deep friendships with faculty with whom he shared the common belief in the importance of Christian liberal arts education. At Ouachita, Mike's passion for international travel was ignited through educational trips to places like China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, and North Korea (where he was one of the first American educators allowed to visit in the post Korean War era). While in Arkadelphia, Mike and Pam expanded their family to include a daughter, Ashley. They spent many happy years in Arkadelphia and have treasured friendships they developed through their work, church, and the bonds that come while raising a family. Mike taught preschool Sunday school for over 25 years, and was always active in community service whether as a deacon; member of Rotary Club, where he was a president; or Girl Scout cookie chairman. In 2001, Mike and Pam accepted a new challenge at Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, TN, where Mike served as provost. In East Tennessee, Mike and Pam discovered a love of exploring and hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains while making new friends. Before retiring, Mike was the executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, completing the circle of a career dedicated to strengthening the quality of Christian higher education. In 2011, Mike and Pam retired to Rome, Georgia to be near their daughter and grandchildren. During these years, Mike found time to work on his golf game and enjoyed many days golfing with a group at The Stonebridge Golf Course. He was a deacon at First Baptist Church of Rome and a faithful volunteer at both the Bagwell Food Pantry and The Community Kitchen. However, the greatest joy in Rome was the frequent time he spent with his two grandchildren. Mike's grandchildren were the true beneficiaries of his gift of engaging children. They adored their Poppy. He was a grandfather who played, and he met children anywhere their imaginations would take them. He never missed attending his grandchildren's games, matches, or recitals to show them how much he loved and supported them. Mike had a tremendous sense of humor, quick wit and gentle temperament. He was known for bringing levity to challenging situations and helping diffuse tensions. He was a peacemaker. Mike enjoyed cheering his alma mater in every sport and faithfully followed the Razorbacks through their good and bad years. Mike and Pam's friends of over 48 years, Paul and Anne Hammond of Choctaw, Oklahoma, were his greatest treasure after his family. The couples had many adventures traveling around the world, and always looked forward to reunions in their favorite place, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mike and Paul spent an untold number of hours sitting on benches in malls throughout the country waiting for their wives, enjoying conversations both deep and lighthearted. Theirs was truly the most special kind of friendship that withstood the tests of both time and distance. Preceded in death by his parents, Mike is survived by his wife of 52 years Pam, daughter Ashley Garner and her husband Andy, his beloved grandchildren, Murray and Anne Walker Ellington (all of Rome, Georgia), brother Robert Arrington (Mary Kate) of Little Rock, Arkansas, many cherished nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. A celebration service of Michael Edward Arrington will be Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 11am at First Baptist Church of Rome. The family will greet friends immediately following the service in front of First Baptist Church. Masks and social distancing are requested. Contributions in his memory may be made to First Baptist Church of Rome, 100 East Fourth Ave, Rome, GA 30161; Ouachita Baptist University, Office of Development, OBU Box 3754, Arkadelphia, AR 71998; or The Community Foundation for Greater Rome, 215 Broad Street Suite 105, Rome, GA 30161.
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