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Arnold Jolivet receiving the Special Award at the 2014 Maryland Minority Contractors Association, Inc. 4th Summer Soiree and Awards Banquet. (AFRO Photo/A.R. Ward)

(Updated 7/29/2014) Arnold Jolivet Sr., a well-known advocate for minority contractors at both the local and national level, died July 27 at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore after struggling with several ailments over the past year.

Jolivet was a tireless proponent for minority contractors over the last 40 years, fighting to ensure that they received their fair share of government construction contracts at the municipal, state, and federal level.

Born September 23, 1942, in Baldwin, La., Jolivet moved to Houston as a teenager, where he would stay until he attended Morgan State University on a football scholarship in 1962. Currently enshrined in the Morgan State University Athletics Hall of Fame, Jolivet studied political science at Morgan and was appointed chief justice of the student court, according to former chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals Robert Bell, who met and became lifelong friends with Jolivet while at Morgan.

According to his son, Arnold Jolivet II, Jolivet went on to study law at the University of Maryland School of Law from 1967 to 1970, and then worked for the state of Maryland in the area of equal employment and opportunity.

In 1975, Jolivet started his own company, Management Trainers and Consultants, and in 1978 became the first executive director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, which he founded along with Robert Clay, Doug Sands, and Robert DeShields. The group fought for the rights of minority contractors, whom they felt were not receiving a fair share of the construction opportunities as Baltimore City built its subway system.

Jolivet leaves a 40-year legacy of helping to ensure that minority contractors and businesses were not excluded from meaningful opportunities in government construction projects. That record of service includes a stint as executive director of the National Association of Minority Contractors from 1998 to approximately 2001, according to Jolivet II.

Alongside his father’s distinguished record of service, Jolivet II told the AFRO that he will remember him as a man dedicated to his family and his God, as well as his work.

“I remember my father as just being an awesome example of tirelessly giving of himself for his wife, and for me,” said Jolivet II. “He was the example of entrepreneurship that I saw. He loved his grandchildren immensely. He loved serving the church.”

Jolivet served as the head of the deacon board at Union Baptist Church until his term expired earlier this summer.

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Arnold Jolivet Sr. with wife of 45 years, JoAnn Jolivet. (Photo Courtesy of Arnold Jolivet II)

“He just loved God, loved people, and loved helping people,” recalled Jolivet II.

Bell told the AFRO that Jolivet was a man who fought for what he believed in.

“I guess the thing you could always count on about him was that he really believed in principle and he would pursue principle no matter what,” said Bell. “That was the critical thing for him.”

Jolivet’s commitment to his principles was so great that, while battling prostate cancer in 2010, he would leave his radiation treatments and attend meetings of the Baltimore City Board of Estimates in order to advocate on behalf of his contractors, said Jolivet II.

More than anything, Bell said he will remember is a great friend.

“He’s a great guy and he certainly will be missed and I’m certainly going to miss him,” said Bell.

Jolivet is survived by his wife of 45 years, JoAnn Jolivet, his son Arnold Jolivet II, and his grandchildren Isaiah and Nia Jolivet. Jolivet had nine brothers and six sisters. He was preceded by Henry Lee Jolivet, Evelyn Madison, Ezekiel Jolivet, Elsworth Jolivet, Myrtle Jolivet, and Loys Hawkins. He is survived by Hilda Manning, Geraldine Denison, Sylvia Waller, Gerar Jolivet, James Jolivet, Warren Paul Jolivet, Russell Jolivet, and Ralph Jolivet.

Observances for Arnold Jolivet will be as follows:

  • Aug. 5-Viewing–4 to 8 p.m., at Vaughn Green Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown.
  • Aug. 6-Wake–10 a.m. followed by
    • Celebration of Life –11 a.m., at what his family calls “Jolivet’s beloved Union Baptist Church,” 1219 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore.
    • Interment will be at Garrison Forest Cemetery.

Roberto Alejandro

Special to the AFRO