My Pulse News

Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Loss of Roy Vail felt in big way

By Jeri Pearson

A pillar of the stage was removed in a motor vehicle accident Saturday evening. 

Roy Vail, long time supporter of the Ouachita Little Theater, was exiting the theater’s production of the musical “BIG”, which he poured much of his time, energy and passion into, when he was struck by a vehicle, resulting in his passing.

Rudi Timmerman, former OLT President, said Roy will be missed.

“Roy Vail’s volunteerism was boundless,” Timmerman said. “While projecting an image of frugality, his generosity was beyond believable. Among other things, he donated the land next to the theatre to the city for the parking lot we now have. I could go on and on about what an asset he was to the theatre, the city, the state and even the world. He will be deeply missed.

Scotty Jenkins, President of OLT, recalls many memories of Roy.

“Roy was one of OLT’s original founding members. He was always willing to help in any way he could, from being in a show to pointing out a loose doorknob that needed attention,” Jenkins said. “In the last several months I have worked closely with him. We performed “Who’s On First” together during our show “Return to Radioland” which was our effort to bring people safely into the theater early on during the pandemic. And Roy was active with us right until the end.  I will miss my friend more than I can say.”

Bill Hays said his 41-year friendship with Roy was fulfilling.

“I have known Roy for 41 years and have shared many experiences with him. In the choir of First Presbyterian Church and Mena community chorus his voice was unmistakable,” Hays said. “Roy and I shared a passion of solar energy and went on a mission trip to Honduras to very poor coffee raising villages with no power to begin the process of installing solar power for basic lighting and refrigeration. He helped our church with donation of 30 solar panels of the 55 installed. His many roles in O L T productions were always memorable. To say Roy was a great citizen of Mena is a huge understatement. Many gifts of his time, talents and treasures have made progress for the City. All this by a very loving, humble and caring person who was a world renowned expert on Peru’s Staghorn fern, having many trips there for research and lecturing. What a wonderful friend I have.”

Roy was recognized in 2018 with a lifetime achievement award, the Leda Benson Lifetime Award, by the Ouachita Little Theatre. There have only been a handful of recipients.

Full obituary is available online at and will be in next week’s issue.

Visitation will be at noon and Memorial Service at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 15 at First Presbyterian in Mena. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian.

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