New London — He will normally be identified as just one of the Bulkeley boys.
New London native Harold Arkava was numerous issues in his lifestyle, but good friends say his tenacious efforts to defend and pay back homage to his superior school alma mater, The Bulkeley College, is possible to be remembered for generations.
Arkava died more than the weekend at the age of 94.
“He was a piece of do the job. They never make ’em like him any longer,” explained longtime friend Joseph Heap, who served with Arkava on the city’s Arranging and Zoning Fee in the 1980s and 1990s.
Heap reminisced about his mate this 7 days, contacting Arkava a amusing person, a bit offbeat, no nonsense and a great storyteller whose tales became a lot more unbelievable with the a lot more cognac he drank.
Arkava served for 16 years on the city’s Setting up and Zoning Commission ahead of leaving in 1994. Throughout that time he would have lunch with developers just one 7 days and butt heads with those people exact same builders when they came prior to the commission the up coming, often retaining points entertaining, Heap recalls.
“I never tell folks what they want to listen to, I notify them what I want them to hear,” Arkava told a Day reporter in a 1988 interview. “That’s known as leadership, with no blowing my own horn. I’m a leader, not a follower.”
Roseann Marks, a former city employee who was a recording secretary for the fee, claimed Arkava had his individual temperament and style.
“He was solid minded, articulate, defined factors wonderfully and was superior with individuals, even if they didn’t get what they needed,” Marks claimed. “He had a command of the podium and of the gavel and his voice could venture.”
Marks mentioned she became speedy close friends with Arkava and threw a shock birthday social gathering for him at Ocean Beach Park when he turned 80. Several hundred persons showed up.
Arkava was honored for his attempts to endorse preservation of historic structures in the metropolis when he been given the Clifford Stone Award from New London Landmarks in 1993.
Even these who did not know him from his times on the fee could possibly remember him as the gentleman going for walks all around the metropolis with a plastic bag about his shoulder. Arkava experienced taken to going for walks various miles a day, schmoozing with inhabitants and accumulating bottles and cans for excess revenue to increase to the scholarship fund he commenced in get to supply a boost to higher education-bound descendants of fellow Bulkeley graduates.
What is now acknowledged as the Harold J. Arkava Scholarship Fund began awarding scholarships in 1988 and gained Arkava the unofficial title of grandfather of the Bulkeley boys, due to the fact most of the scholarship recipients ended up youthful more than enough to be his grandchildren. The Bulkeley boys are the graduates of the all-boys school that shut its doors in 1951. Arkava was a 1944 graduate of the school and concentrated his efforts on trying to keep the school’s memory alive when he started the scholarship fund with just $2.
It was a response to a distinctive scholarship that had been established up with proceeds from the sale of the school but only readily available to New London citizens. Considering that Bulkeley experienced welcomed students from across southeastern Connecticut, Arkava figured that funding really should be accessible to all family of Bulkeley graduates.
The scholarship fund had developed to $1.3 million by the time Arkava transferred the income to the Local community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut in 2016. Hundreds of learners have benefited and more than $70,000 is slated to be awarded this calendar year. The fund harmony is at nearly $1.8 million, reported Alison Woods, vice president and chief development officer at the Group Basis of Japanese Connecticut.
She said it was an honor for the foundation to have on Arkava’s perform.
“He definitely focused himself. Harold experienced amazing vitality when it came to this. Not only did he do a very good career stewarding the income all through his time overseeing it, he was a incredibly successful fundraiser,” Woods stated.
Arkava mentioned via the decades that offering funds to enable the more youthful technology carry on their schooling gave him an internal glow, getting himself arrive from modest means.
Tony LaLima, who graduated from the Bulkeley Faculty in 1949, worked with Arkava and Myron Hendel for many years on organizing the yearly Bulkeley School reunions, an occasion that employed to draw hundreds of former grads from all in excess of the country for a working day of fraternal bonding.
Arkava was fond of stating members have been members of the “most exclusive personal club in the United States of The united states.”
Bulkeley grads experienced until finally not long ago joined for dinners at the Port ‘N Starboard Restaurant at Ocean Beach Park. LaLima said there is a pride and camaraderie among graduates who went on to be star athletes and have effective professions.
“It was also a special position wherever most people understood everybody else. For these four many years of higher university, it was the very best expertise anybody could get,” LaLima explained.
Immediately after a pause in 2020 since of the coronavirus pandemic, LaLima reported options are underway for the 54th reunion, although it is still unclear if it will transpire this 12 months.
The reunion switched venues in recent yrs to Langley’s Cafe at the Wonderful Neck Region Club in Waterford, largely because of the age of the contributors and their capacity to stroll up the stairs at Ocean Beach front. LaLima stated individuals employed to appear by the hundreds but numbers have fallen to the 60s or 70s, with most graduates now in their 90s. There were extra than 700 graduates when LaLima commenced function on the reunions and at final count 325 have been even now alive.
Bulkeley College opened in 1873 and shut in 1951, when New London Higher University opened. The making where it was housed is now aspect of the Regional Multicultural Magnet School. It was just one of three universities in procedure at the time, including the all-women Williams Memorial Institute and William H. Chapman Complex Significant School.
Bulkeley maintained a preparatory-like popularity for making star athletes and college students and realized fame for a New England basketball championship in 1951.
Arkava, the son of Sam and Molly Arkava, lived in his family property across the road from the school for most of his existence. Buddies claimed he stayed to continue to keep an eye on the school.
He was a vocal opponent of early designs for the redevelopment of the university into a commercial complex with places of work and a restaurant. He also rallied the community and petitioned the City Council when the town moved the statue of previous Gov. John Winthrop from Bulkeley Location to Eugene O’Neill Drive in 1974. It was returned in 1986.
Arkava was a lifelong bachelor who served 2½ a long time in the Navy soon after higher university and attained a organization administration degree from the University of Connecticut. He was recognised for a time as “Crazy Harold” on radio advertisements for a Norwich car dealership he ran with company companion Carl D. Sherman in the 1950s. After some world touring, he would later on go on to operate a wholesale car or truck small business.
Martin and Rona Rutchik, longtime close good friends of Arkava, remember a guy who was properly traveled, perfectly read through and enjoyment to be with.
“Whatever Harold did, he did with pleasure, resolve and fun,” Martin Rutchik said.
1 of Arkava’s objectives was elevating revenue for the Bulkeley scholarships, which Rona Rutchik suspects was for the reason that he under no circumstances experienced family or children of his individual.
“He was delicate of the fact the children of New London didn’t have the probabilities in lifestyle other individuals did. He wanted the neighborhood to assistance them,” Rona Rutchik mentioned.
“This was one of his daily life ambitions and I feel he obtained it,” LaLima reported.
The Rutchiks, who had been going to Arkava in his remaining times at Beechwood convalescent house in New London, claimed he was perfectly cared for and in fantastic spirits. His remaining want of being buried near his good close friend Myron Hendel also was staying honored.
Arkava will be buried with army honors on Wednesday in a non-public ceremony. A collecting for a celebration of his life at Ocean Beach Park is remaining prepared for spring or summer season, or as shortly as pandemic conditions allow.