Arnold Bennett Dexter was born May 29, 1935 in Chiefland, FL to the union of Rev. Qvod Dexter Sr. and Elvida Norris-Dexter. At an early age the family relocated to Hillsborough County settling in the Keystone community.
In spite of being reared during an era in which educational opportunities were limited for African Americans; Arnold saliently took advantage of those which were available. He was a proud graduate of Historic Don Thompson Vocational High School, Class of 1951. He then furthered his education at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in Tuskegee, AL majoring in Building Construction.
Following his sophomore year he decided to broaden his experiences by enlisting in the United States Air Force. He served in Germany from 1955 to 1958; honorably discharged as Airman First Class. Prior to resuming his studies at Tuskegee Arnold practiced his trade working for Tommy Williams and Edward Building construction companies. On returning to Tuskegee he completed B.S. in Building Construction matriculating with the Class of 1963.
Arnold made history by becoming the first African-American to be hired by the City of Tampa as a Building Inspector in 1966. He retired in 2003 as one of the Chiefs after 37 years of service.
He was a faithful member of Keeney United Methodist Church serving some 45 years on the Finance Committee, Trustee Board, Lay leader and a variety of other capacities.
He leaves to cherish his memories Sons; Bruce A. Dexter, Michael C. Dexter (Janice) of Tampa, FL and Dr. Mark A. Dexter (Blessing McKinney, TX). Grandsons; David Dexter, Joshua Dexter, Matthew Dexter of McKinney, TX and Brian Gremer (Sarah) of Tampa, FL. Granddaughter; Zariah Dexter of McKinney TX. Great-Granddaughters; Addison Gremer and Avery Gremer of Tampa, FL. Brother; Qvod Dexter Jr. (Pauline) of Dade City, FL. Nephews Phillip Tucker Jr. of Tampa, FL and Luke Tucker of Dallas, TX. Nices; Dr. La Toya Dexter (Lonnie), Dr. Phileatha Tucker-Johnson (Adrian) and Dr. Phyllis Tucker-Wicks (Robert) , all of Tampa, FL. Sisters in-law; Arlear Dexter, Mareatha Tucker, both of Tampa, FL and Paula Gray-Dexter of Dade City, FL. Grand Nephews; Adrian Johnson Jr, Jeremiah Wicks and Phillip Tucker III, all of Tampa, FL. Grandniece, Adria Johnson of Tampa ,FL. Among his many cousins left to celebrate his memory are Renard Brown of Ft.Pierce, FL, Tomasyna Payne and Aida Meyers (Andre) of Jacksonville, FL., Marty McHenry (Clevetta) of Tampa, FL, Mae Johnson of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Regina Jackson of Chiefland, FL and special Cousin-In Law Melvin Jackson of Tampa (Keystone), FL. The number of family members, friends and former co-workers is simply too voluminous to include here. A host of others experience the loss of his earthly presence but rejoice in his transition to a higher plane.
Arnold Dexter was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years; Dorothy Tucker-Dexter, parents; Rev Qvod Dexter Sr. and Elvida Norris-Dexter, his brother Curtis O’Neal Dexter and brothers-in-law Dr. Willie George Tucker and Rev. Phillip Tucker Sr.
The remains will repose Monday, December 30 at Ray Williams Funeral Home, 301 N. Howard Avenue.
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