If there was ever a lawyer who loved practicing law, it was Walter Harold (Bevo) Arnold. Actively practicing into his late eighties, retirement was never even a passing thought in his mind. The law was his life. This fearless trial advocate had only one fear, that being the fear of reaching a point when he would no longer be able to try cases or go to his law office. A gradual loss of hearing finally did take its toll on his ability to try cases although most of his adversaries claimed he used his hearing loss as a ploy to emphasize testimony advantageous to his position by having it repeated with an apology to the court that he had been unable to hear the answer.
W. Harold Arnold was given the nickname of “Bevo” by his high school football coach in Woodruff, South Carolina where he was born and raised. He practiced law primarily as an insurance defense lawyer for more than 60 years. Six months before receiving his LL.B. cum laude degree from Furman University in 1931, he passed the state bar and began a long and distinguished career, first as a member of the firm of Mann and Plyler, later known as Arnold and Mann, followed by many years with the Greenville law firm of Love, Thornton, Arnold and Thomason. Bevo’s mastery in the courtroom came from not only thorough preparation but also his knack in the art of cross-examination.
Bevo stories have become legend. They are recounted frequently by the bench and bar alike and will be for many years to come. On one occasion, Bevo was permitting one of the young associates in his office to examine a witness during a civil trial. Following a question asked the witness by the nervous young lawyer, Bevo stood up and objected. “But Bevo”, the young lawyer exclaimed, “we’re on the same side!”. “I don’t care”, responded Bevo, “you have no business asking a dumb question like that!”. The jury broke up with laughter and became endeared with Bevo as most juries usually did.
Only in his last year of life was Bevo no longer able to come to his beloved law firm. His office was kept just as he left it until his death.
Bevo is survived by his widow, Lucy Furman Arnold, children Caroline Davis and Walter Harold Arnold, Jr., several grandchildren and great grandchildren, and his twin sister, Mrs. Hazel Bobo.