News & Press

White Arnold & Dowd P.C. Remembers Stephen R. Arnold


Stephen Richard Arnold, 75 of Birmingham, passed away on May 26, 2023 following a recent illness. Born November 4, 1947 to Robert Walter Arnold and Katherine Durham Arnold, Steve graduated from Indian Springs School in 1966. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Finance in 1971. Steve served our country in the United States Army on active duty from 1970-1971 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and then transferred to the inactive reserves in 1971; he discharged with the rank of captain in 1978. Following his active duty military service, Steve attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1974 and beginning a law practice that would span nearly 50 years.

Steve and his beloved wife Barbie prioritized spending time with their blended family: son Allen (Evalouise), daughter Allene, daughter Robin Ennis (John), and son David Parks (Camila). His greatest joy in life was being “SteveO” to their eight grandchildren: Adelia, Kate, and Lillian Arnold and Alden, Andrew, Archer, Meadow, and Miles Ennis. Steve enjoyed exploring the world with Barbie, especially summers in Maine, and deeply valued time spent closer to home hosting family and friends on the Gulf Coast and at their lake home at Blackridge. He appreciated beauty, seeking it out in the artists he befriended as well as in nature, most often on golf courses all over the world. Steve especially enjoyed playing golf at Vestavia Hills Country Club, where he recently achieved – and has photographic evidence to prove – a hole-in-one.

For the first five years of his legal career, Steve engaged in a broad general practice with the firm of Jones, Arnold & Roden, resulting in the beginning of his specialization in matrimonial law. He was next a partner in Durward and Arnold, concentrating solely in the area of matrimonial law (1979-1993). Steve then joined White, Dunn and Booker (1993-2003), the predecessor to White Arnold & Dowd P.C., where Steve served as a founding member, named partner, and member of the executive committee for 20 years. Steve enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as one of Alabama’s pre-eminent matrimonial and divorce attorneys. His extensive background in finance, accounting, and general business enhanced his chosen concentration in financially and legally complex matrimonial matters. Steve was a well-respected and talented advocate who valued – and expected – honesty, excellence, and integrity from his professional teammates and adversaries. He was dedicated to serving his clients’ overall best interests and emphasized problem solving, negotiating, and achieving positive resolutions for his clients. Steve managed to counsel and successfully guide his clients through the stresses of divorce, matrimonial litigation, and the court system without losing his own humanity and compassion.

Steve’s pursuit of professional excellence naturally led to his selection as one of the first five practitioners in Alabama for fellowship in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”). Through the AAML, he worked to improve the practice of matrimonial law on a national level, including serving as a national faculty member for the AAML Institute for Training Young Lawyers, as governor, and on the board of the AAML Foundation. In recognition of his superior trial and advocacy skills, Steve was certified as a Family Law Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and named a fellow of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. He co-founded the Family Law Section of the Alabama State Bar Association and served as the section’s president; Steve also served as a board member of the Heart Gallery, advocating for adoption.

In addition to Barbie, their children and grandchildren, and a host of colleagues and friends, Steve is survived by his sister Barbara Breo and his nephew David Breo (Karin and Ella). The family extends special thanks to Emily Reiter, Scarlett Silvani, Vernon Furlow, Nick Redmill, and the other nurses and healthcare team at Grandview Medical Center. Funeral services will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (3736 Montrose Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35213) on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. Visitation will be at 2:00 p.m. in Graham Hall at the church. A family burial and interment will follow at Bethel United Methodist in Warrior, AL. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Luke’s Foundation ( or the AAML Foundation (