NYACK — Dr. Arnold “Arnie” Thomas Rist died February 6, 2017. Born September 2, 1924 in his Adirondack hometown of Newcomb, NY to Ernest and Iva Rist, he began his college education at sixteen at Cortland State College. His education was interrupted in 1943 when he was inducted into the armed forces. Having served in the 65th Armored Infantry Battalion, 20th Armored Division, Sergeant Rist and his Division liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, on April 29, 1945. After the war, Arnold returned to Cortland State and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education. It was at Cortland that he met his late wife, Roberta Catherine (Drake) Rist. They wed on August 24, 1947.
In 1948, Arnold returned to his hometown of Newcomb as a physical education teacher and coach. He later earned two Master’s Degrees in Health Education and Guidance from Syracuse University and a Doctorate in Education from New York University, investigating the positive results of community college opportunity for students previously dismissed from four-year colleges. Arnold dedicated his career to the education of young people. He founded and directed Rockland Educational Services, Inc., which offered PSAT preparation programs for grades eight through twelve. He established scholarship incentive programs for minority students in Rockland County. Throughout his career, Arnold maintained a special emphasis on ensuring underprivileged and minority students had access to education.
Dedicated to his hometown, Arnold established Newcomb Day in 1973. The event continues to draw present and former Newcomb and Tahawus residents to Lake Harris for music and festivities during the first weekend in August. Devoted to his fellow infantrymen and committed to ensuring that young people today never forget the atrocities he witnessed during the war, Arnold launched a lecture series speaking to high school and college students about the Holocaust. Never far from his trumpet, Arnold sounded “taps” over 1,300 times at veterans’ funerals and various holidays and commemorative events.
Arnold is survived by his wife, Denise; his son, Randy (Patricia) Rist; his son, Kevin (Mary) Rist; his grandchildren, Lindsay (Brad), Cassidy, Erika, Rebecca, and Ethan; and his great-granddaughter, Kennedy. He was predeceased by his wife, Roberta; and his brothers, Harold, Leslie, and DeVerne Rist. Visitation will be held on February 18, 2017, from 3:00 to 6:00pm at Wyman-Fisher Funeral Home, 100 Franklin Ave, Pearl River, NY 10965. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a scholarship established in Arnold’s name through the ECHS-Tahawus Legacy Education Fund, 1108 Ashland Avenue, Bedford, VA 24523.