It’s been a bit bittersweet Labor Day weekend around here. Saturday morning we found out my father-in-law had passed away; the world truly lost a one-of-a-kind. As a Commander and Navy fighter pilot he served our country during WWII and for many years after. The stories of  his brush with death was close on more than one occasion. After he retired from the Navy he supported his family as a farmer and crop duster, where he displayed his strong work ethic and love for the land. He was a loving and devoted husband married over 70 years, a father who led by example to six kids, and an active part of his community and the state that he adopted, Arkansas.

Unfortunately, I was a bit late arriving into the family. When I first met my father-in-law at the ripe young age of 89 he still had some spunk in his step and a strong demeanor. Although it was only a mere six years the impact of his steady character, vigilance, and demonstration of how determination can carry you a very long way will remain with me for a lifetime. No doubt he will be greatly missed by his kids, his grandkids, and all the people who ever came in contact with him including me.


Rest in peace Sy Elton Mendenhall. You may have earned you fighter wings on earth but you’re deservingly wearing your heavenly ones now.

I’m more than blessed to have known you and will always wear your last name proudly.

Your daughter-in-law who loved you.


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