Bar Harbor has lost one of its biggest and brightest diamonds with the passing of Grace Arnold at 95 years old. Grace was born in Philadelphia and treasured memories of growing up on the Main Line with her two sisters and her loving parents. Grace had striking Hollywood looks and those features landed her a job as a model in the 1940s. When Grace was asked by a fellow model to go out on a blind date as a fourth in a double date, Grace was speechless when she opened the door to find Mickey Mantle. Grace ended up marrying a Cuban band member, mirroring the life of Lucy Ball and Ricky Riccardo. They had a daughter, Mimi. When she tired of the lifestyle of being a band member’s wife and being constantly on the road with touring, Grace and Mimi retreated back to Philly and her family’s arms. It was not long before many suitors would again be at Grace’s door, but one caught Grace’s eye and her heart: Charlie Arnold, who was a striking 6-foot-tall All-American football player. Charlie (Ted) and Grace had one child, Charlie, and the new family would go on one adventure after another, from taking the boat down the Erie Canal and then down the East Coast to Florida or trips through Europe. Grace and Ted started the Arnold Bread Company, putting gourmet bread on grocery store shelves across the nation. Even though they sold the company years before, Grace could be found in the bread isle straightening out the loaves of the Arnold bread to the end.
Ted, Grace and Charlie eventually moved to MDI, building and living in homes throughout the island. Grace loved hiking the many trails of Acadia and she was notorious about wearing high heels. When it was brought up that hiking in heels might not be such a great idea, Grace would respond with her high kick and say “HIKE WITH SPIKES BABY!” It was not until Grace moved on to Albert Meadow in Bar Harbor that she truly felt at home. She loved her neighbors and the fact she lived on a quiet street in the heart of Bar Harbor. The street was bookended with the Shore Path and then Bar Harbor’s Main Street on either end. When hiking Acadia’s trails became too much for Grace, she turned her attention and what she called her WALKIES to the path and streets of Bar Harbor. She found much enjoyment walking along and chatting to tourists and would love to hear where they were from or stop and pet a dog or two. She could be found on a park bench holding court with children or a young couple. Grace would make her rounds, stopping in at shops along her way. She especially enjoyed the crew at Serendipity and Greg and Julie at Window Panes. When asked her secret to long life, she would simply declare it’s fresh air and getting out for walks. Grace felt comfortable in high society settings or luncheons with her D.A.R. group or talking to local fishermen unloading boats at the dock or any person who came across her path. Grace had another trademark and that was her love for jewelry. She was an expert gemologist, and she was quite often sought counsel from friends and family when they were considering buying jewelry.
Although Grace got great pleasure from her jewelry and living here on Mount Desert Island, the greatest jewel in her life was her family. Grace would drop anything for a phone call or visit from her son Charlie and his wife, Marie. Her heart was broken when she lost her daughter, Mimi. She adored her grandson, Paul, and two granddaughters, Alexandra and Christina. She was so delighted to hear Alexandra was engaged to be married to her fiancé, Andreas. The past few years Grace fell in love with a chihuahua, Gucci, who she could spend hours petting as a lap dog. Grace also had a very special friendship with Scott Martin here on the island. The two of them could be found on daily adventures, from garden tours, to sailing, to drives throughout the park and state. Grace leaves a huge void in their lives and will be greatly missed by many in the summer community when the season returns. As the country gathered to watch the inauguration this past week and Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace,” one couldn’t wonder if she was smiling up in heaven as those who knew her turned their hearts to her memory. Good night, Gracie!
A memorial butterfly release on Bar Harbor’s Shore Path in honor of Grace is planned for June 20, 2021, if COVID restrictions allow.