Edwards Funeral Home

201 North 12th Street, Fort Smith, AR


Bruce Lynn Birkhead

April 14, 1935September 6, 2020

Bruce Lynn Birkhead, 85, of Fort Smith, AR passed away on September 6, 2020. He was born April 14, 1935 in New Blaine, AR to Lindell Birkhead and Ina White Birkhead. Bruce worked for the Social Security Administration until his retirement in the early 1990s. Since then, he enjoyed the opportunity to polish his already remarkable skills as an artist.

In his lifetime, he painted stunning landscapes, carved and painted hundreds of cypress knee Santas, and designed and produced beautiful stained glass pieces of all sizes. He was also a noted local floral designer in his day and continued to help out during the holiday rush at Expressions Flowers. He was a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paris while growing up and joined First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Fort Smith around 1960. Over the years he held numerous leadership roles within the state and local Christian Churches (DOC) and sang in the choir. Bruce was a very active member of the Fort Smith Little Theatre for more than 30 years.

Among his greatest joys was his work that resulted in a restored and expanded-range Quimby organ at FCC (DOC) FS and that his children and grandchildren accused him of having “no filters.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, his loving wife, Saundra “Kaye” Birkhead, their son Brett Lynn Birkhead and his sister Barbara Arndt. Bruce loved his friends and family at church, FSLT and throughout the FS community.

Survivors include two children, Zena Marshall and her husband Dan of Fort Smith; Todd Birkhead and his wife April of Fort Smith; three grandchildren, Katy Featherston and Grace Featherston, Claire Birkhead, all of Fort Smith, and his sister Eleanor Underwood and her husband Larry of Derby, KS.

A Celebration of Bruce’s Life will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, September 12, 2020 at Mount Salem Cemetery in the Mount Salem Community near Mount Magazine. Don’t forget your mask! His children and friends will organize a memorial concert for Bruce when conditions permit large gatherings. Memorial contributions may be made to First Christian Church (DOC), FS, a local public school music program, FSLT or KUAF. Services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home.

Bruce’s advice to you: Be kind, read more, create, and “let the dogs out, d*mmit!”

Honorary Pallbearers will be Leonard Cowan, Don Oglesby, Nancy Bochberger, Jewel White, Nick Oliver, Cliff Carson, Aimee Mavel Guenette, Hilda Turner, Danny Lynch, Jack Albert, RQ Mills, Larry Underwood, Richard Arndt and Bob Bauer.


  • Lindell Birkhead, Father (deceased)
  • Ina White Birkhead, Mother (deceased)
  • Saundra "Kaye" Birkhead, His Loving Wife (deceased)
  • Brett Lynn Birkhead, Son (deceased)
  • Barbara Arndt, Sister (deceased)
  • Zena Featherston-Marshall, Daughter
  • Dan Marshall, Son-in-law
  • Todd Birkhead, Son
  • April Birkhead, Daughter-in-law
  • Katy Featherston, Granddaughter
  • Grace Featherston, Granddaughter
  • Claire Birkhead, Grandaughter

Learn more about the Birkhead name


  • A Celebration of Bruce's Life

    Saturday, September 12, 2020


Bruce Lynn Birkhead

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gilbert Kane

September 21, 2020

Bruce was a close friend in high school and we always kept in touch down through the years. He also kept in touch with a lot of our class mates in between our class reunions. One thing I could count on was notification if one of our fellows died or had serious health problems. But he failed to tell me about himself; hate to see him go.
One of the good ones!

Mike Beck

September 12, 2020

So sorry for your loss. Bruce was great teacher and mentor. Really helped expand my stained glass experience. Always willing to share his gifts, his talents and of course, his opinion. Remember when we completed the first window for the front of the Little Theater. We stepped outside the shop on the carport to clean it. When I went to step around it I stepped right through it breaking it in to several pieces. He was so cool about it, never lost his temper. We carried the parts back inside and he said we would put it back together "even better the second time". Still have two of his cypress knee Santas he made for me and put them out every year.

Lou Nell (McCraw) Davis

September 12, 2020

I was so saddened to hear that my college friend, Bruce Birkhead had died. He was such a blessing to his family and community. His sister, Barbara and I lived on the same college dormitory floor for several years and were very good friends. Bruce sang in the choir that I was in and I always enjoyed his sense of humor. He was a very positive guy. I would like to express my condolences to his children and grandchildren and to his sister, Eleanor. God bless all of you

Lou Nell McCraw Davis

Clara Jane Rubarth

September 10, 2020

My deep and heart-felt condolences on the death of a good friend and co-worker in the Fort Smith Little Theatre. May he rest in peace.

Myrna Lough

September 9, 2020

Zena and Todd, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this sad time. As you know, your Dad and I have been friends for sixty years! We worked together throughout his career sharing many memories, both good and bad times. He was a special friend and I will miss him so much. God Bless You All.
In loving friendship,
Myrna Sue Lough

Missy Branum

September 9, 2020

Zena and Todd,
My most heartfelt sympathies are sent to you and your families. I have always been so fond of your parents and enjoyed so many PEO meetings and functions in their home over the past 30 years. I first knew them through Mom and Kaye teaching together and I was so excited to finally meet this wonderful couple. They touched so many lives through their gifts and talents. My heart hurts for your loss. Heaven will be even more beautifully decorated!
Missy Branum

John and Rebecca Harrison Rather

September 9, 2020

My mother, Lillian Harrison, worked with Bruce for many years. She and my dad always enjoyed the Christmas parties at his home with Kay. I still have the wedding gift they gave us 55 years ago. I know he will be missed, but I can just imagine that big reunion for former Social Security staff in Heaven...anything for a party. My condolences to the family.

Dianna Jackson

September 9, 2020

I was his Choir Director at First Christian Church for 25 years and Bruce was always there. He was a faithful member of the Choir who I depended on for many years. Kaye and Bruce would sponsor the Children’s Choir parties and Chancel Choir parties for many years. If I needed him to sing a solo in church he was always willing to help me whenever I needed him. We shared garden stories and he gave me day lilies in my yard that I always sent him pictures when they were blooming. I will miss him and Choir will never be the same. His favorite solos were “At the River” and “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked”. Today I see him singing these solos by the River and where Jesus walked as he meets Kaye at the gates of heaven. I will always remember him and I send hugs and prayers and love to his family 🤗🙏❤️

Lisa Evans

September 8, 2020

Zena and Family,
Sorry to hear of your Dad's passing, My thoughts n Prayers are with you n your family at this time. I have 4 of your dad's Cypress knee Santas that your dad made. I put them out every year at Christmas time! I will cherish them and always remember your dad each year. He was a kind and gentle man. He always did wonderful floral arrangements.
Lisa Evans

Allen Marshall

September 8, 2020

I remember on several occasions when we would be at the Birkhead's house that Bruce would give Marion and I a tour of his backyard. We enjoyed the beauty of the flowers, sculptures, and most of all his creativity in putting it all together. Plus, sometimes he would give us several plants to use in our garden.
Very thankful that Bruce was my friend!


Learn more about the Birkhead name