Jay Marshall Balkenhol, age 66, of Mena, AR passed away on December 29, 2017, in Mena, AR.
Jay was born March 23, 1951, in Emporia, KS to the late Jacob F. and Lois Marshall Balkenhol. After graduating from Emporia High School in 1969, Jay majored in fine arts at Emporia State University. He received a graphic arts certificate from Salina Area Technical College, Salina, KS in 1972. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Sherry Rexroad, also of Emporia, in Savannah, GA in 1973.
Jay was employed as a graphic artist on Hilton Head Island, SC for five years. He and his wife relocated to Oklahoma City in 1977, where he worked as the art director for an advertising agency. They moved to Mena, AR in 1982. During Jay’s 35 years in Mena, he worked as a master carpenter and contractor.
Jay was quiet, thoughtful, and generous, and had a lifetime passion for learning. He was kind and gentle, always willing to help a friend or neighbor. He loved animals and the earth and was an avid organic gardener. As a talented artist and creative craftsman, his legacy includes many works of art as well as beautifully built homes, including his own.
He is survived by mother, Lois Balkenhol of Emporia, KS; wife, Sherry Balkenhol of Mena, AR; sons, Aaron and wife Sharlene Balkenhol of Mena, AR, Brandon and wife Kari Balkenhol of Springdale, AR; grandchildren, Mariah Gutierrez, Abigail Gutierrez, Kaleb Birtcher, Isabella Balkenhol, Morgaine Balkenhol; three great-grandchildren; brothers, Bruce Balkenhol of Emporia, KS, Brett and wife Tatiana Balkenhol of Lancaster, PA, Brian Balkenhol of Sabetha, KS; sisters, Brenda and husband Dwight Lauer of Parker, CO, Beth and husband Leo Crowell of Springfield, MO, Babette and husband Tom Brekka of Santa Cruz, CA; sisters-in-law, Ricci Balkenhol of Emporia, KS, Linda Rexroad of Mena, AR; brother-in-law, Ralph Rexroad of Mena, AR; and numerous, much-loved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Jacob Balkenhol, and brother, Barry Balkenhol.
His body was sent for cremation under the direction of Beasley-Wood Funeral Home of Mena, AR. A Celebration of Life memorial will be scheduled at a later date.