Kevin Lee Mentzer, 46, of Gilbert, Arizona, passed away on January 2, 2014 surrounded by his family in his home. He is survived by his wife Fay, sons; Zachary and Kyle, father-in-law Robert "Bob" Ealy and his wife Carol and also his mother-in-law Shirley Korb and her husband Terry. Kevin loved visiting Disneyland, regularly, coaching, supporting and being involved with his sons baseball leagues, and was a very proud Denver Bronco fan. Kevin supported and served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked as Operations and Maintinence Manager at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. He was known for being a "Big...
Kevin Lee Mentzer, 46, of Gilbert, Arizona, passed away on January 2, 2014 surrounded by his family in his home. He is survived by his wife Fay, sons; Zachary and Kyle, father-in-law Robert "Bob" Ealy and his wife Carol and also his mother-in-law Shirley Korb and her husband Terry. Kevin loved visiting Disneyland, regularly, coaching, supporting and being involved with his sons baseball leagues, and was a very proud Denver Bronco fan. Kevin supported and served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked as Operations and Maintinence Manager at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. He was known for being a "Big Kid" but also for his love of being a family man. His strength through his courageous battle should be inspiration to his sons and the young men he knew through his extended baseball families.
Kevin's family would like to invite you to a Celebration of his life on January 17, 2014 gathering at 6:00 pm, Service begining at 6:30 pm and a light reception to follow. The family request that the attire remain casual and you may honor and celebrate Kevin by wearing, Baseball attire (no cleats), Disney shirt or show your support for the Broncos, please keep attire casual and bright. Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park and Funeral Care, 6747 E. Broadway Road. Mesa, AZ 85206.
Contributions may be made to an account that has been set up for Kevins sons education fund. Bank of America, Fay Mentzer, Savings Acct: 457029614693, Routing #: 122101706 or you may make a donation in Kevins memory to the
I am honored to be speaking here tonight. We have known the Mentzer family for 7 years. We initially met when our son, Ryan and his son Kyle played t-ball together and were in the same Kindergarten class. Those two have been best friends since the day they met.
Ryan had the honor of being coached by Kevin on his little league team, the Pirates. I remember, Kevin often forgot what a slow runner Ryan was. We always teased Kevin about how many times Ryan got thrown out at home because Kevin sent him forgetting that Ryan had a trailer hitched to him. However, Kevin had an amazing heart. Ryan hurt his elbow throwing a ball during a game. Kevin immediately checked it out and took him out of the game. Thank goodness, because it was Ryan's growth plate and he was on the injured list for 6 weeks.
Ryan loved going over to their house to play video games in Kevinland. He will always remember the day Kevin said he became a "Kevinland member", he was so honored.
As many of you know, Kevin also helped coach our first club baseball team. Ryan and Kyle both went to the tryouts and were so excited to make the team, thank goodness since those two are inseparable. Kevin's experience with club baseball from his older son, Zach, was a huge help to our new team.
Kevin had such a huge heart. He loved Fay and the boys so much. When he got sick, Zach was trying out for the freshman high school baseball team. Kevin's biggest concern was that Zach would continue focusing on his baseball and make the team. Of course, Zach made the team and continues to excel in baseball. I know his dad is so proud of all he has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in his life.
Kyle, you are like a son to us. We enjoy his sense of humor and his fun spirit. We know that Kyle will continue to excel in baseball as well and Kevin will be watching all his games from the best seat in the world.
Speaking of Christmas, I had the honor of going to the Mentzer house this November to help decorate the house. They weren't kidding when they said there was a ton of stuff. The boys helped us sort and carry many boxes into the house. It was a great day.
Kevin has been taken from us far too soon and it is so hard for us to understand.
Kevin – I want you to know that Fay, Zach and Kyle are like family to us. Fay is my dear friend and I love her. Your boys are like sons to us and we love them. You did such a great job raising them as they have kind hearts and wonderful attitudes. We will be there to support them forever. So rest assured that they will be OK. We all miss you dearly but know that you are in a wonderful place.
I worked with Kevin for about 20 years. I first met him on the phone, during a phone interview. As I was interviewing him, I could feel this energy/personality – and hired him without even meeting in person. I remember telling him about the job, out at Williams Air Force Base, asking him if he was sure. "Do you know how far from ASU that is?" I asked. "No, no, no problem, Mr. Denny". Made me laugh - I think that was the first time anyone called me Mr. Denny, and I am the same age as Kevin. When I met him in person a few days later, he was so genuinely excited, to get this PART TIME job, at a CLOSED airport. I don't even know if we paid him those first couple weeks. He would show up, grinning ear to ear, standing at attention, so enthusiastic. And that's what I still remember today: his big smile of excitement. He was always ready to do what was needed. And he did. And he did it well. In our world it's quite an achievement to get a perfect FAA safety inspection. Kevin led our team, racking up 14 years of perfect inspections, with many of his friends and colleagues here tonight. And each time, he'd come into my office with that big ol' grin.
Zach – I remember the day you were born. Getting the call. Your arrival was highly anticipated. I stopped by the hospital just to say congrats, not intending to disturb your Mom, and your Dad comes out of the delivery room with that grin. "You've got to see him!" he says, and pulls me into the room to Fay's chagrin. He was so happy; so proud. And Kyle – again with you. He loved you all so much.
His passions covered his office: aviation, the Denver Broncos, and pictures of his beautiful wife and these talented boys. He proudly shared stories of Disney and your baseball successes with us at work. We are all so sorry for your loss – words cannot express. But please know that, our friend, your father, and your husband will live in our memories forever, and those memories make us smile.
My name is Carmen Williams, and I have known Kevin and his wonderful family for over 20 years. It is an honor for me to be here and speak a few words about my friend and co-worker Kevin.
After graduating from ASU with his degree in airport management, both Kevin and I had the great luck of starting new jobs together at Williams Gateway Airport. He loved working at Gateway Airport, especially during the annual air shows. As one of the first hires he took great pride in seeing it grow to the place it is today, and his contributions can be seen everywhere. Kevin and I spent so much time working together, it would be impossible to not call him one of my closest friends in life.
Kevin had a great memory and was always telling stories. I loved to hear the story about how he and Fay met at a Loverboy concert when they were in high school. Fay got sick during the show and had to leave, but she didn't have Kevin's telephone number. Luckily, a friend of Fay's found Kevin and got his number, and I'd like to think it was fate or divine intervention that helped start their long and devoted relationship.
Kevin loved the band Rush, and would often tell me the story about moving to Mesa High from Colorado and getting chastised from his classmates for wearing a particular Rush t-shirt to school. Over the years he told that story so many times, I knew he was sort of proud for riling up the school back then.
Everyone has memories of a time that they laughed so hard it's truly unforgettable. Well, Kevin gave me the biggest laugh of my entire life. Even though it happened close to 20 years ago, to this day I still crack up at the vivid memory of accidentally pushing over an entire partition wall – not just one panel, an entire 20' section of wall – right on top of him. After those few moments of utter panic and then seeing that Kevin was OK, we spent what seemed like hours doubled over and crying with laughter. His sense of humor and quick wit got him through any occasion, especially the hard times. I knew that I could trust him with anything and I respected him more than words can say.
Kevin was a terrific friend and a loyal co-worker, but he was most proud of being a devoted husband and father to his family. Family was the most important thing to Kevin. His eyes would light up when he talked about Zach and Kyle's success with baseball and school, or when he'd talk about his upcoming trips to Disneyland or Magic Mountain with the family. He also loved Christmas more than any other holiday, and each year he would take the first week off in December to decorate his house inside and out for the holidays. I know he will continue to watch over his family.
It is incredibly sad that Kevin's life ended too soon for all of us and I cannot put into words how much my family and I will miss him, especially his stories, his laughter and presence. So when you hear a Loverboy song on the radio, think of love that opened up for two people, and smile for Kevin. Kevin, I appreciate your friendship and will never forget you.
Carmen Williams, Mesa, AZ
MY NAME IS JUDY REININGER. I AM KEVIN'S AUNT, HIS LATE MOTHER WAS MY SISTER. I KNEW KEVIN HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
ALL THOSE YEARS AGO MY SISTER CALLED FROM HER HOME IN PITTSBURGH TO TELL ME SHE WAS PREGNANT, AND ABOUT SIX MONTHS LATER CAME THE CALL, A BOY, KEVIN LEE.
WHEN KEVIN WAS ABOUT 15 MONTHS OLD, DURING A COLD, ICY AND SNOWY WINTER, THE FAMILY MOVED TO DENVER. ENROUTE THEY STOPPED IN NEBRASKA WHERE KEVIN'S MOTHERS FAMILY LIVED. THEY ARRIVED DRIVING A CONVERTIBLE WITH A FABRIC ROOF, PULLING A BOAT AND IN THE BACKSEAT WAS KEVIN, HIS GRANDFATHER MENTZER, AND A BIRD IN A CAGE. NEEDLESS TO SAY THEY MADE IT.
I REMEMBER THE HIGHLIGHTS OF KEVIN'S CHILDHOOD, GROWING UP IN DENVER AND PHOENIX, HIS MOTHERS PRIDE (AS WITH ALL OF US) EACH MILESTONE, HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, BECOMING A MARINE, COLLEGE, MARRIAGE, FATHERHOOD. HIS PASSION WAS HIS SONS.
NEBRASKA WAS WHERE KEVIN;S GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS LIVED. THERE WERE MANY CROWDED, FUN FILLED CHRISTMAS'S, AS WELL AS HOT MUGGY 4TH OF JULY PARADES AND PICNICS, A COUNTY FAIR. AS AN ADULT, WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE, KEVIN WOULD RETURN THERE WHERE HE WOULD RE-ENERGIZE WITH THE ROLLING HILLS AND SLOWER PACE.
KEVIN STILL HAD MUCH TO GIVE, ACHIEVE, FULFILL. HIS ABSENCE WILL LEAVE A VOID IN OUR LIVES FOREVER.
I stand here today, like many of you, to pay my respects and say goodbye to a friend. I've known Kevin for over 20 years. In fact, my husband and I met Kevin and Fay about a week before their wedding. They invited us by saying "We know we will be friends for a long time, will you please come to our wedding?" Of course we said yes!
During our 20's, we shared much laughter, a few jokes and a lot of beer. Our favorite watering hole was this little place in Chandler known as City Limits. Like the famous 'Cheers' bar we all know, this became the place we met on weekends, watched a little football, celebrated some New Year's Eves and ate a lot of hot wings. Kevin loved hot wings.
Karaoke night was always good for a laugh. After all, who doesn't sound better after a few pitchers of cheap beer? One night, Kevin and I performed a duet of "I Got You Babe" while inhaling helium out of the decorative balloons floating in the bar. We had the whole place roaring with laughter and ended up winning a $25 gift certificate!
Once we started having kids and moved, we didn't see Kevin and Fay as often. When we did finally meet up, we always seemed to pick up right where we left off. It was as though no time had passed.
Over the years I knew Kevin, he was always up for an adventure. Whether it was shooting his bow, playing a videogame, riding a rollercoaster or skiing, he liked it all. He loved competition and Kevin lived life. His Laughter was contagious. He seemed like a tough guy at first but as I got to know him better....boy was he a softy inside, especially sensitive.
In closing, I'd like to add that there is at least one thing we can all take away from this experience; life is precious. We never know what tomorrow will bring and should live everyday as if it is our last. Hug your families and friends a little tighter and tell them they are loved.
Gold Canyon, AZ
Kevin was born in Pittsburgh, PA. His parents then moved to Denver. Thus, his love for the Broncos and skiing. At 15, he moved to Mesa, AZ with his mother. A year later, he and Fay met at a Loverboy concert and it truly was love at first sight. The odds of them meeting was astronomical as they went to different high schools. Fay was a Sophomore and Kevin a Junior. Since then, he became a member of our family. After graduating from Mesa High school in 1985 he joined the Marines, which he was very proud to do. He was very patriotic and into history. Fay was honored by him wearing his Dress Blues to a couple of Fay's senior dances. Kevin married Fay on February 16, 1991. Kevin was always ambitious and worked three jobs to get through college. He graduated from ASU in May 1994 with a Bachelor Degree in Aeronautical Technology. After college, he worked at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, where he worked his way up to the Operations and Maintenance Manager. He was credited for many achievements including Airport Security and Air Show management. He loved his job and airplanes. He took flying lessons, received his pilot's license and took Fay on several exciting solo rides. Then his life took a big turn. Zachary was born in 1997, then Kyle in 2001. The boys and baseball became his new love. He loved to coach and was so very proud of his two sons. Kevin also loved Disneyland. The family made several trips every year. He was the biggest kid! Fay and the boys were always running after him because he walked so fast to get to the next ride. Christmas was his favorite time of year. His home inside and out would be decorated so beautiful. Everyone called him Clark Griswold. He instilled the spirit of Christmas in all of us. Kevin lived his life to the fullest. He also did carpentry work for their home where he built a beautiful mantel for their fireplace and book shelves for the boys to display their trophies. Fay and Kevin have been together 30 years and have wonderful memories. Kevin was a dad that was always there for his boys. He raised his boys with so many wonderful qualities including honesty, loyalty, working hard, defensive skills, respect, and being caring and loving. Kevin continued to show his strength and determination through his courageous battle and should be an inspiration to his sons and the young men he knew through his extended baseball families. Kevin was a great husband, dad, son-in-law, brother, friend and baseball coach. He will be missed by many as he touched a lot of lives. He is gone from us now but what wonderful memories he left with us. Kevin, you were loved and will be greatly missed. Hope you are soaring with the angels.