Tony Kenkel finished a very full, very loud, very silly, very delicious (also known as “stupid good”) life on March 30, 2021 at the age of 58.
Tony was born and raised in Kelso, Missouri in a large German family where blood sausage was Sunday dinner, cows with bells roamed freely, and the adults spoke to each other exclusively in German so that the kids wouldn’t catch on.
He wanted to see the world, but more importantly wanted to fix stuff, so after high school Tony joined the US Air Force. He served honorably doing his dream job as a jet engine mechanic, saw the world (but mostly saw Arkansas), fixed everything from B-52 engines to C-130 rotors, and retired after twenty years.
A public servant through and through, Tony went on to work for and retire from the US Post Office where he fixed more stuff, specifically the mail sorting machines. You can thank him for every intact letter and package you’ve ever received.
In fact, Tony was always fixing something – taking cars apart, retrofitting the camper, fixing the air conditioning unit in the rental beach house, FaceTime-ing his kids to diagnose a car engine problem, standing on the roof fussing over the newly installed drainage spout being half an inch too low, or crawling under the house trying to figure out a leak. Anyone who knew Tony for more than an hour knows him as a world-class doozer.
When Tony was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer in 2009, he took it in stride and as just another reason to keep living life to the fullest. He met his wife, Bonnie, at nearly the exact moment he found out he was sick, and as a team they decided that there was no trip they wouldn’t take, no food they wouldn’t try, no time they would waste. Together they visited every corner of the US, traveled to twelve countries, saw AC/DC’s farewell tour from the fifth row, were summer regulars at Cajun’s and the beach, and were all in for just about any possible adventure.
Tony loved: cars, reality TV shows about cars, fixing cars, tourist destinations related to cars, fixing small engines, fixing just about anything, camping, dancing, t-shirts, laughing loudly, traveling, good food (especially buffets), and generally being silly.
More than anything, though, he loved getting to spend time with his family and friends. Tony was proud to be a husband, father, poppy, papaw, brother, son, and friend.
Left to miss his craziness are his wife, Bonnie; mother, Janet Carroll; siblings, Laura Greenwood, Paul Kenkel, Tina Smith (Darren), Debbie Gohn, and Joey Kenkel (Pam).
He also leaves behind a small army of kids: Beth Friese (Alex), Ryan Kenkel (Becca), Aaron Kenkel (Jessie), Nathan Kenkel (Tori), Jordan Kenkel (April), and Logan Kenkel.
And grandkids: Cheyyenne, McKenzie, and MaKayla Kenkel; Ayden and Carlee Marshall; Myleigh, Ashton and Oliver Kenkel; Jaxon Kenkel; and Axel Kenkel.
And another small army of step-kids: Lauren Haupt (Heidi), Daniel Hardy (Jessi), Kyle Hardy (Jordyn), Lindsay McGee (Sean), and Caitlin Rogers (Austin).
And, yes, even more step-grandkids: Jack and Oliver Hardy; Greyson, Liam and Emmeline Hardy.
While we will miss Tony’s smile, laugh, sick dance moves, sense of adventure, and ability to fix whatever we needed him to fix, he would want everyone to do what he did – take this in stride… live every moment to the fullest… don’t take a single moment with family and friends for granted… be sure to laugh, to dance, to take adventures… eat the weird food, drink the wine, book the trip… and don’t be afraid to be a little silly.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Tony's name to the Wounded Warrior Project.
A funeral service will be held at 11:30AM at Smith-Sherwood Funeral Home with a visitation one hour prior to service. Interment will follow at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at 1:00PM.
To send flowers to Anthony's family, please visit our floral store.