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Mena, Arkansas, News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Lynda Kaye Stewart

Lynda Kaye Stewart, age 75, of Mena, passed away Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at Mena Regional Hospital. She was born on February 24, 1948 to Guy Henry and Helen June Chancey Franklin in Hills Chapel south of Ozark, Arkansas. She was married to Larry Scott Stewart on May 28, 1966 at the First Presbyterian Church in Ozark, Arkansas by her father-in-law the Reverend Stephen Guice Stewart.

One of her favorite sayings was “This is my circus and these are my flying monkeys!”. Kaye loved the craziness of her large, noisy, active family. She would not have it any other way. Having grown up in a small country house with her five siblings, it was all she knew, and she embraced the chaotic beauty of life. She was a strong believer in the sanctity of home, and her greatest joy came from having her children and grandchildren by her side. Her back door was always open to the boys’ friends and the neighborhood kids. This resulted in dozens of “adopted” kids who still call her “mom”. When her youngest son graduated from high school, they had to change the locks because she had handed out so many keys! The one comment the family has repeatedly heard since her passing is “She treated me like family.”.

Upon moving to Mena in 1979, Kaye went to work at Plunkett Drug Store where she made lifelong friends. She then worked at The First Presbyterian Church in Mena as the church secretary. Kaye was very social and loved to help people in any way.  When she was offered a job at Fare Finders Travel, she found her calling. Although Kaye rarely traveled, other than to Razorback games and to see her grandchildren, she enjoyed helping other people plan and go on their dream vacations! She loved hearing her customer’s stories and seeing pictures of their trips. She later purchased the business and for two and a half decades, she successfully owned and operated Fare Finders Travel Agency in the Old Mena Depot. She was also an original member of the Mena Advertising and Promotion Committee reflecting her commitment to community service and local development.

Kaye loved flowers and fresh garden vegetables. She had a remarkable green thumb. She was well known by the staff at Didier’s Nursery in Fort Smith! She could usually be found out in the yard tending to her many beautiful flower beds and gardens. Her ferns were legendary in Mena and were used at many weddings and funerals for decades until they were destroyed in the tornado.

Kaye was also known for her holiday decorations. Life-size stuffed dolls of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Easter bunnies, and witches appeared on her front porch with the approaching holidays. If she didn’t get them out on time, the neighborhood children would start asking where they were!

Kaye and Larry are lifelong members of the First Presbyterian Church. When their boys were young, they taught Sunday School to a group of rowdy middle schoolers who were “their kids”. They currently attend services at the First Christian Church in Mena.

Kaye’s strong relationship with the Lord showed in her serving heart. She loved God and others as well. She was a beacon of humility and kindness in her community, setting an example of selfless service for all those around her. When her mother-in-law Lillian was unable to live alone, Larry and Kaye built “the little house” next to theirs so Kaye could take care of “mom”. Her years as a caregiver to Lillian provided the family with many amusing stories!

The void left by Kaye’s departure is profound, but her memory continues to bloom in her flower beds and in the hearts of those she touched. Her life was a testament to love, service, and perseverance. As we mourn her loss, we also celebrate a life beautifully lived.

Kaye is preceded in death by her parents and one sister, Shirley Cross.

Kaye is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Larry Stewart of Mena, Arkansas; her two sons and daughters-in-law, Scott and Jennifer Stewart of Midway, Utah and Brian and Tiffny Stewart of Conway, Arkansas; and one adopted son, Roger Bazan of Santa Cruz, Bolivia; one brother and sister-in-law, Ralph “Poke” and Patricia Franklin of Ozark, Arkansas; three sisters and two brother-in-laws, Donna and Charles Ray White of Ozark, Arkansas, Tuffy and Kenny Edwards of Pleasant View, Arkansas, and Fluffy Sory of Ozark, Arkansas; nine grandchildren, Seth Patrick Stewart of Midway, Utah, Brendon Jeffrey Stewart and Tess Kaitlyn Stewart both of Heber, Utah, Aidan Cross Dunagan Stewart and Ian Killian Franklin Stewart both of Midway, Utah, Sydney Alena Stewart, Zachary Aaron Stewart, Amelia Grace Stewart, and Jude Lyric Stewart all of Conway, Arkansas. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023 at 10:30 AM at the First Christian Church in Mena with Reverend Rob Williams officiating. A graveside service will follow at a later date at the Highland Cemetery in Ozark, Arkansas. Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Bowser Family Funeral Home in Mena, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in her name to St. Jude’s Research Hospital and The Hometown Hero Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mena High School at 1200 Dallas Avenue, Mena, Arkansas 71953.

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