- William “Billy” Arnold Jr.
- 67 years old
- Lived in West Philadelphia
- Was always an entrepreneur and a mentor to young men
Everywhere he went, William “Billy” Arnold Jr. brought smiles to the faces of those who knew him, his daughter said.
He was known for his sense of humor and an even-keel disposition. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad angry,” Amirah Lawson said.
Mr. Arnold, 67, who operated a telecommunications consulting business advising companies that build cellphone tower networks, died of COVID-19 on Sunday, May 16, at Temple University Hospital.
Mr. Arnold, who converted to Islam about 40 years ago, was also known as Wallaudeen Na’im, his family said.
Mr. Arnold was born Sept. 16, 1953, in Philadelphia to Alice Almeta Banks Arnold and William Marshall Arnold Sr.
He attended West Philadelphia High School. After high school, he began operating several businesses. An early business was a janitorial service for office buildings.
Grady Jones, a friend of Mr. Jones’s younger brother, whose first job was working after school for the custodial service, said Mr. Arnold was a mentor to him and other young men.
“We all kind of looked up to him,” Jones said. “He treated everybody the same. He was the type of person who would tell you that when you walked into a room, ‘act like you own it, like you deserve to be there.’ He had that confidence in him. Nowadays, they call it swagger.”
Years later, when Jones began working in telecommunications, he said, Mr. Arnold’s advice gave him the confidence he needed to negotiate leases for cellphone towers and other business dealings.
Jones helped Mr. Arnold get into the telecommunications industry, first as an employee with the company Jones worked for. Later, Mr. Arnold started his own telecommunications consulting business.
Lawson said her father loved cars and attending car shows and auctions. He also loved to dress well, she said.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Arnold is survived by daughters Zakiyyah Fields, Halima Na’im, Aliyah Na’im, and Sylvia Arnold; sons Wykeem Holloway and Amir Arnold; one brother; three sisters; 15 grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends. A brother, a sister, and his son Tariq died earlier.
An Islamic Janazah prayer service was May 19. A virtual memorial service is planned for Friday, June 25.