It is with great sadness that the family of Roy Senyard, 73, of Fayetteville, AR, announces his death on July 28, 2018 while vacationing with his wife Norma and friends in Idaho.
Roy was a lifelong advocate and lover of the outdoors. He spent decades working to preserve the integrity and beauty of the Arkansas wilderness through his passion for caring for The Ozark Highlands Trail, a long-distance Arkansas hiking trail of over 200 miles. He was the longtime Maintenance Coordinator for the OHT, organizing the volunteers who keep the trail open by cutting back the side growth of trees and shrubs.
If there was meaningful trail work to be done, Roy was the first person on the scene. Had trees from a storm fallen and blocked the trail? Roy gathered a team together and off they headed to clear the trail passage. Is trail maintenance hard work? It certainly can be. But Roy was so much fun to be with, and so friendly -- the crew members just wanted to be with him. He joked, he laughed, he taught newbies the ropes. He made the work fun, plus it was all for the great benefit of Arkansas’s beloved Ozark Highlands Trail. Wow, could he run a chainsaw! And his attention to safety and technique was impeccable.
He made many lifelong friendships through the camaraderie and shared achievement of working to make mountains, moss-covered rocky streams, and deep, hidden valleys accessible to those who love to walk in the woods. If you've ever been hiking in Arkansas, there's a good chance you've been on a trail he either built or maintained.
Roy was born March 31, 1945, in Natchez, MS. He grew up in Pine Bluff, AR, and graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1964. While a student at the University of Central Arkansas he joined the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam as a recon medic.
He saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. He was wounded and received two Purple Hearts.
After returning from service, he continued his education at UCA. He worked notably for Arco Oil Company. He and his former spouse, Sue Claypool Senyard, lived for a number of years in Pine Bluff, AR, Perryton, TX, and Fort Smith, AR.
It was while living in Fort Smith that Roy became passionate about hiking trails and the outdoors and became one of the early members of the Ozark Highlands Trail Association.
He met his wife Norma Sims Meadors Senyard, who is also an outdoor enthusiast, and they moved to Fayetteville, AR, in 1996. Roy and Norma both love paddling Arkansas’s glorious Buffalo River.
They love hiking and backpacking -- not just in Arkansas, but in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Roy worked many week-long trail maintenance crews in Colorado for The Colorado Trail.
Roy is survived by his wife, Norma Senyard of Fayetteville, AR; his daughter, Anne-Marie Lisko of Tulsa, OK, and her husband, Ian Lisko; his sister, Suzanne Reynolds of El Dorado, AR, and her husband, Morris Reynolds; his sister-in-law, Gay Senyard Hansen of Fayetteville, AR; his stepdaughter, Wen Audrey Tate of Hickory, NC, and her husband, Jim Tate; his stepson, Brian Meadors of Wilmington, NC, and his wife, Mandy Meadors; grandchildren Vivian Lisko; Gus, Tabitha, and Mason Meadors; James, Donovan, and Carlton Tate. He had eleven nieces and six nephews.
He had many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Ann Ellen and Frederick Senyard and his beloved brother, Rick Senyard.
A memorial Celebration of Life for Roy will be held on Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 2:00 pm at Lake Fort Smith State Park Black Bear Dining Hall. Lake Fort Smith State Park is located a short distance south of Fayetteville, at Mountainburg, AR.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his honor to The Ozark Highlands Trail Association Roberts Tract Fund or The Ozark Society Buffalo River Legal Protection Fund.
Roy had wisdom and humility. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy to the natural world will live on.
Friends may leave a condolence, or share a memory or photo at www.woodriverchapel.com.