Arnold Elton Trueblood

TruebloodArnold Elton Trueblood, 90, on February 8, 2020, at Foulkeways in Gwynedd, Pa. The second son of D. Elton and Pauline Goodenow Trueblood, Arnold was born on January 2, 1930, in Greensboro, N.C., where his father was dean of men at Guilford College. His family moved frequently, living on the campus of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, next to Rufus Jones; and then at Stanford University in California, where his father served as chaplain and chairman of the Philosophy Department. At age ten, Arnold built a cabin, along with his older brother, Martin, in the backyard—his first house in a long career as a visionary builder and community developer.

As a boy, Arnold traveled east from California by train to attend Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, and Westtown School near West Chester, Pa. Later, after an almost fatal illness, Arnold attended Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. He married his childhood sweetheart, Caroline Sargent Furnas, in her family home in Richmond in 1951. The new couple made a decision to settle in the east, near Gwynedd (Pa.) Meeting. Ultimately, they built a house along the Trewellyn Creek on high ground that had a unique Quaker history. It was part of the original grant by Native Americans to William Penn, who re-granted it in turn to the Evans family, original settlers in the area. As a result, the Trueblood family was the first ever to pay for the property, purchasing it from the late Horace Evans in 1959.

Founder of a residential construction company and land development business, Arnold earned recognition for his work in both areas. His firm received a Best Contemporary Prototype Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1973, and a Best Small House Award from AIA. Another award-winning project was the Spring House Village Shopping Center, which repurposed a former cow barn and ice cream manufacturing operation, honored as the best small, themed shopping center in the United States.

Arnold gave generously of his time to public service. He served for many years on the Board of Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia. When a gift of land was made to Gwynedd Meeting, he and Caroline served on the Founding Committee that created Foulkeways in 1967, one of the first Quaker continuing care retirement communities in the country. He served many years on the Foulkeways Board. He was a dedicated member of Gwynedd Meeting, serving on numerous committees, including as clerk of the Property Committee. His professional and private commitments came together when he served as chairman of the Lower Gwynedd Township Recreation Committee. A firm believer in promoting the useful appreciation of the outdoors, he initiated the Lower Gwynedd trail system.

At Lake Paupac, a Quaker retreat in the Pocono Mountains created in 1948, he built a family summer house and a small cabin that served as a library for his father. Arnold loved spending time there with family and friends. He and Caroline worked as resident managers of the Paupac Lodge in the early ’50s. An accomplished stone mason and bricklayer, he built fireplaces, chimneys, walkways, terraces, and walls, a pastime he contributed with pleasure to the homes of his friends and family members at Paupac and many other places.

Arnold is survived by his wife of 69 years, Caroline Trueblood; five children, Ann Trueblood Raper (David), David Trueblood (Michael Flier), Eric Trueblood (Linda), Neil Trueblood, and Jonathan Trueblood (Katrina); ten grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a brother, Samuel J. Trueblood (Mary Ellen); a sister, Elizabeth Trueblood Derr (Dan); and a sister-in-law, Margaret Trueblood. His brother D. Martin Trueblood died in April 2020 (see next milestone).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *