Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Larue Barnes

March 4, 2012

Larue Barnes: In a class by himself

Rex Arnold wasn’t merely a math teacher. He was a mentor to a town.

 

At Christmastime Carolyn Arnold Brazier and her husband traveled from Longview to visit the graves of her parents at Green Acres Memorial Park in Cleburne.

As they walked with flowers in hand toward the gravesite of E. Rex and Evia Arnold, both retired teachers, they were surprised to find that someone had been there before them.

“I have no family here, I have no brothers or sisters,” Carolyn said. “I can’t imagine who would leave beautiful red silk roses with baby’s breath in memory of them. That was such a lovely thing to do. I wish I could thank them.”

Perhaps she can. 

E. Rex Arnold was a legendary math teacher at Cleburne High School from 1945 until his retirement in 1971. He had taught in several other schools, however, before arriving here.

Emmitt Rex Arnold was born July 29, 1906, in Whitney, the first of the three boys of Henry Emmitt Arnold and Frances Griffin Arnold. He graduated from high school there.

Details of Rex Arnold’s early life are sketchy. Carolyn said her grandfather was a teacher, too, and an assumption can be safely made that young Rex enjoyed the outdoors and was active in sports As an adult he loved to fish and hunt and coached sports in smaller schools as he began his teaching career.

At Rock Creek in Hill County, his first teaching job, he was barely older than some of his students. He taught next at Irene, and then Tehuacana. A photo shows him wearing a coach’s letter sweater while there.

The Gilmer-Aiken Bill of 1949 required teachers to have a college degree for the first time. Those who had taught with less semester hours had to return to college.

Arnold didn’t graduate from North Texas Teacher’s College until 1931, but he began teaching in 1926 with an associate’s degree. At these smaller schools he taught history as well as math and coached basketball.

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