Page, Arizona – Jim was born on April 15, 1957, in La Mesa, California, to Eugene and Clara Arnold. He grew up in Descanso, California, with two brothers and one sister. In his early childhood, Jim’s family moved to northern Utah, where his father worked in road construction. Jim had the experience of growing up in some unusual and remote places such as historic “Covered Bridge” and Thistle, Utah, before the great mudslide of 1983. Jim worked for ranchers in the summertime when he wasn’t attending school and enjoyed rural living.
Jim attended Spanish Fork High School, where he was accepted into the building trades program. Soon after entering the program, he knew he had found his passion in life and wanted to become a builder. After spending some time at a trade tech school and two years on an LDS mission in England, Jim focused on his dream of working in construction. For a time, he worked for RF Christianson Construction Company, mostly building LDS churches and working on other commercial projects. Soon after, he studied and tested for his Utah contractor’s license, which he obtained, and kept active throughout his life. When the Utah building industry slumped, Jim was encouraged to move to Arizona by his lifelong friend, Gary Bartholomew. So, in 1983, Jim bought a fifth-wheel trailer, hooked it up to his red pickup truck, and moved to Page, Arizona. He became self-employed in 1984.
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Jim loved the mountains his entire life. He spent his 20s camping and hunting with friends, and despite how busy his future would become, Jim always found time to head up to the mountains and enjoy what he loved doing best. He loved the sound of elk bugling or watching a bear forage for berries or the stalking of a mountain lion.
When he wasn’t working and building, he was out enjoying nature. Jim had a passion for photographing wildlife in the peaceful, remote places he would hike to. This passion persisted, and later in his life, in 2004, Jim would build a cabin in Boulder, Utah, with his lifelong partner Lynn Vogel. Together, the two went on to purchase a 40-acre inholding on Boulder Mountain known as Baker’s Pasture in the Dixie National Forest.
After settling in Page and working for several construction companies, Jim went after his Arizona contractor’s licenses and reorganized his Utah and Arizona licenses. In February of 1988, with the love of his life, Jim founded Lake Powell Construction & Development, Inc. Together, Jim and Lynn built their life and their company, focusing on commercial, bonded work and occasionally building custom homes.
Jim always enjoyed historic restoration work and design-build projects. He was well-known for accepting challenging and non-typical projects. Some of these included floating a mini-excavator down the Colorado River to Phantom Ranch in 2013 and working in the bottom of the Grand Canyon where men and materials had to be helicoptered in. Men and materials were barged to the land-locked Dangling Rope Marina and other remote places around Arizona, Utah and Lake Powell, where if you forgot a tool you needed for the job … well, you’d just have to get creative.
He built two significant floating projects for Aramark on Lake Powell – the Latitude 37 Restaurant, Store and Offices at Wahweap Marina and the Halls Crossing Marina Store and Snack Bar. These projects were constructed on the water at Stateline Launch Ramp and towed to their permanent floating locations on Lake Powell. Jim performed work for many school districts all across Northern Arizona, including building the 800-seat George Gardner Performing Arts Center and Classrooms in Holbrook, Arizona, for which he received an award in Southwest Contractor Magazine.
Jim placed great value in donating his time and resources to projects within his community. Through Lake Powell Construction, Jim donated time and work to the Page Regional Domestic Violence Shelters. Other significant projects he contributed to and had a major role in were the construction of the Page Veterans Memorial outside City Hall and Grandview Knoll Park. Additionally, Jim donated time and resources to the local 4-H grounds and various Canyon Club projects.
Throughout his lifetime, Jim received many awards and affiliations and was recognized as an expert in his field. He was sought after time and time again for his value engineering, problem solving and negotiating skills. Jim was the first non-Flagstaff contractor to become president of Northern Arizona Building Association (NABA) in 2002, later becoming a life director. He was appointed as a delegate to represent Arizona for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Under this role, he would meet with congressmen in Washington, D.C., and other places across the nation, to discuss problems facing the modern builder. He handled these responsibilities the same way he handled building: cheerfully and with all he had to offer.
Affiliations and Certifications
• 7 years – President of Page Building & Contractor’s Association
• 16 years – Board of Directors, Northern Arizona Building Association (NABA)
• 13 years – Board of Directors, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
• Past President of Northern Arizona Building Association
• 2003 Arizona State Representative for NAHB (National Association of Home Builders)
• Steering Committee Member for 2003 Coconino County Comprehensive Plan
• Builder of Year Awards 2002 and 2003 – Northern Arizona Building Association
• 2004 Appointed Life Director – Northern Arizona Building Association
• Utah Small System Water Operator Certification #08297
• RS Means Facilities Estimating Certification – March 2008
• RS Means CostWorks Training Certification – March 2008
• RS Means Mechanical & Electrical Estimating Certification-October 2010
Jim was preceded in death by his father Eugene Arnold, his mother Clara Arnold and his stepson Christopher Vogel.
He is survived by his life partner Lynn Vogel, stepchildren Sara Barney and James Boswell, his brothers Richard Arnold and Charles Arnold, his sister Ann Turner, five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, January 19, at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Bible Chapel, 551 San Francisco Road, with the Pastor Manny Parks officiating. Jim’s ashes will be laid to rest in the family cemetery at Baker’s Pasture, Boulder Mountain. Arrangements are being handled by Mosdell Mortuary, Kanab, Utah.