David Jesse Arwood

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Beloved husband, son, brother, teacher, prankster, and friend to all, Mr. David Jesse Arwood, 35, of Johnson City, passed away on June 19, 2021. He was a graduate of Hampton High School, East Tennessee State University, Milligan College with a master’s in education, and Lincoln Memorial University with his Education Specialist degree; a long-time member of First Christian Church of Elizabethton followed by St. Mary’s Catholic Church; former educator of Carter County and principal of St. Mary’s School. Dave would be absolutely mortified at all of this formality. 

Although his time on this earth was painfully short for those who knew and loved him, there are some hard and fast rules that Dave lived his life by, of which he would hope others would remember and live by as well. These include but are not limited to the following; 

Seek out the person at the party with no one to talk to. Smile and ask them questions about themselves. Self-deprecate as often as possible. If someone asks for money on the street or for their group, don’t ask questions, make assumptions, or suppose there are better organizations on which to bestow your donations—just give. There is no truth to the notion that there could be something too spicy or that there could be too many bottles of hot sauce in your fridge. Don’t bother with the Texas Pete style if there are other options available. Blast your tastebuds to flavor town. Pull over at every scenic overlook–the view is too pretty not to admire. Live in the Appalachians all your life because when you leave even for short periods of time, you will want to return shortly. Make questionable life choices; come back around when you’ve learned your lessons and make them right. Travel often and travel cheaply. If you are robbed, you can always give them your shoes and your rosary. Choose to believe the best about everyone you know and meet. They will hopefully offer you the same grace. Even if the woodpile is dwindling or the campfire is getting too big, add more wood. This gives you more time with your friends to talk late into the night. Just don’t put your feet too close or you’ll melt your shoes. Take your time talking to children. Sure, they might tell a story that makes no sense or comment inappropriately or ramble, but the impression left upon them by giving the gift of your attention will impact them long after you leave their lives. Throw your children in the air—it will make your wife, friends, and passing strangers uncomfortable, but those flying monkeys will squeal with delight and that will bring you great joy. Do it all unconventionally—education, marriage, faith, music, friendships—and do it with the joy of someone who doesn’t give a rip about what people might think. Others who may not be as confident will look to you and feel there is no way to truly embarrass yourself when you are surrounded by the people who love you. Go to church with your family. Sing the songs and go through the motions, even if you are not always feeling like it, because the grace received from doing so will comfort you and comfort them. Apply for the job that scares you. When you end up the principal of a private school because you have all of the right skills and personality traits, serve without question and with gusto. Love your wife by taking her on adventures both big and small. You might be a terrible material gift-giver, but the gift of your time and your experiences together will last longer than any material good. Lastly, and most importantly, be present with every person you converse with. You will make thousands of friends in this way, and your newfound acquaintance or friend of old will feel like they are so uniquely special, because they truly are. If it ever feels tenuous, tell a joke. It might make people uncomfortable for one split second, but you’ll be rewarded with levity and laughs. Don’t be afraid to have tough conversations with them, to ask them how they are, and to love them even when they are not at their most loveable. 

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Survivors who will live to carry on his memory and share these lessons with anyone who will sit still and listen include his wife of seven years, Kathleen; two children, Rosie and Gus; parents, Ermine and Roger Arwood; brother, Lucas Arwood, and his wife Ashley; Aunts and Uncles, Sue Hickman and her husband George; Joanne Arwood and her husband Bob; Sherry Arwood and her husband Billy, Patsy Tadlock and her husband Randy; many beloved cousins; nephews and niece, John Paul, Jude, and Marigold Schweitzer; parents-in-law, John and Janice Schweitzer; brothers-in-law John Schweitzer and his wife Stephanie, and Eric Schweitzer, and the thousands of friends and students David had an impact on throughout his life. 

The family of David Arwood will receive friends from 6 to 8 PM on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Tetrick Funeral Services Chapel. The funeral mass will follow on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 11 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The inurnment service will be conducted at 3 PM Friday, at Happy Valley Memorial Park. Family and friends who wish to attend are asked to meet at the cemetery by 2:50 PM.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the organization Rise Up!, a local mentorship program for young at-risk children, an organization David loved.  

Memories and condolences may be shared at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com.  Tetrick Funeral Services, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, TN  37604, (423) 610-7171, is honored to serve the Arwood family during this difficult time.