Wendell Wayne Arnett, a resident of Tampa, Florida, gracefully entered into God’s Kingdom on June 8th, 2023 at James Haley Veterans Hospital, following a brief battle with leukemia. He was 64 years old.
He was preceded in death by his beloved father, Wayne, his mother, Geraldine, and his sister, Lana Sue. Wendell leaves behind a legacy of love and cherished memories. He is survived by his devoted wife, Marilyn Menendez Arnett, and several cherished family members who meant the world to him. Among those who will forever hold Wendell in their hearts are Michelle (Scott) Coleman and their sons and daughter, Ryan Chaney (Danielle) and their daughters, Robbie Chaney and his daughter, Stepsons Rory Menendez and his son, and Ryan Menendez and his soon to be daughter. Wendell is also survived by an uncle, aunts, and several cousins, a loving niece, Symantha (Cris), and several nephews whom he adored, brother-in-law, Robby (Alice) and son, sister-in-law, Sheryl and her son. Additionally, Wendell enjoyed a close-knit group of childhood and work friends who were like brothers, all of whom will deeply feel the void left by his absence, as well as very close friends he enjoyed his daily fellowship with.
Born and raised in Tampa, Wendell embarked on a journey of service after graduating from high school. Enlisting in the Army, he served his country with tremendous pride before receiving an Honorable Discharge. His dedicated service was recognized through awards such as the Marksman Badge with M-16 rifle bar, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. Upon his return to Florida, Wendell explored various professions before discovering his true passion as a Master Brewer, a path he pursued for three decades. Throughout his life, he actively participated in various organizations, including the Teamsters Union, 4th Dimension Motorcycle Club, Sobrenity Home Group, Grace Family Church, and the Patriot Guard Riders, with whom he rode on numerous occasions, and was an avid golfer.
To know Wendell was to appreciate his impeccable taste in clothing and cologne. Whether it was his Bugatchi shirts or the subtle aroma of Vince Camuto cologne, he ensured he always presented himself as a gentleman. His magnetic smile had the power to illuminate any room, and his laughter exuded an authenticity that drew people towards him. For nearly half a century, Wendell found joy in the open road, indulging in his passion for motorcycles. It was his love for motorcycles and his infectious smile and handsome 6 foot 3 inch distinguished presence that instantly forged a deep connection between him and the love of his life, Marilyn. On January 18th, 2015, Wendell and Marilyn crossed paths at Karaoke, and from that moment, love enveloped their hearts. Wendell had been aware of Marilyn’s presence within the biker community and her philanthropic efforts for veterans and the community for over 15 years. However, his shyness prevented him from approaching her back then. Their first date became the catalyst for a lifelong journey together, navigating the highs and lows, celebrating love, and most significantly, deepening their spiritual connection with the Lord. Throughout it all, Marilyn remained devoted to Wendell, standing by his side until his last breath.
We invite you to join us as we celebrate Wendell’s remarkable life on July 12th, 2023, commencing at 11:30 am at Grace Family Church, located at 5100 W Waters Ave, Tampa. Immediately following the service, The Patriot Guard Riders will honor Wendell by escorting us to his final resting place at Bushnell National Cemetery, where he will be interred with military honors.
The family extends their heartfelt appreciation to Pastor Alex Veloz and the dedicated staff of Grace Family Church for their support during this difficult time. They would also like to express their sincere gratitude to The Patriot Guard Riders for their commitment to honoring Wendell’s service to his country.
Wendell’s absence leaves an indescribable void in the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him. As we bid farewell, we wish to share one final thought, which resonates with the love and faith that guided Wendell throughout his life. Marilyn has chosen the following verses as a tribute to her loving husband:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8