In Remembrance: Marlin and Tana Kuykendall Featured

He was an entrepreneur, a local politician, a deal-maker and, most importantly, a dad. She was charming, Prescott’s ‘First Lady’, and Marlin’s partner in all things. Together, they made a huge difference in Prescott, Arizona.

Big Idea

  • Marlin Kuykendall, 86, passed away  Sunday, January 17, 2021 at his home in Prescott, Arizona
  • Tana Kuykendall, 76, passed away on Friday, September 3, 2021Marlin was the ultimate entrepreneur, he and Tana made an excellent team!
  • Services are on Thursday, November 4, 2021
  •


Most people in Prescott knew Marlin Kuykendall as the former Mayor of Prescott. But, he and his wife Tana contributed so much more to this community.

Marlin Dale Kuykendall, 86, passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 at his home in Prescott, Arizona. Marlin was born June 13, 1934 to Ollie and Dollie Kuykendall in Oklahoma, the youngest of 7 boys. His family moved to Plain View, Texas when he was a toddler. Later, the family moved to Phoenix Arizona where he spent his teenage years. He graduated from Phoenix Technical School in 1951.

Marlin served in the U.S. Army in the 1950’s and rose to the rank of Sergeant. When he completed his active-duty service, he was commissioned as an officer (after completing Officer Candidate School) in the Arizona National Guard during the late 50’s. He came to Prescott to serve as the 158th Infantry (Bushmasters) Company Commander in the late 1960’s. The late Yavapai County Supervisor Gheral Brownlow was his Company First Sergeant. His support for veterans was limitless through his entire life.  He continued to support men and women of the National Guard and Reserve for over 10 years while serving as the Northern AZ Chairman, Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).  

Marlin moved to Prescott in the early 60’s and became the ultimate entrepreneur. He sold his prized Thunderbird to buy his first filling (gas) station. He loved to solve problems and start businesses. He became the Phillips 66 Area Distributor in 1964. He also brought the first Toyota automobile franchise to Prescott as the initial dealer in the late 1960’s.  This was before anyone knew what a Toyota was! Marlin would go on to start and own Kuykendall Motors a local Buick, Pontiac, GMC, and American Motors franchise.  He also started Suzuki of Prescott a local motorcycle dealership. Eventually, he opened automobile dealerships in Sedona and Flagstaff bringing Fiat, Saab and used car facilities to those communities. Over the years he also owned automobile dealerships in Texas and New Mexico.

Marlin believed in the potential of Prescott Ernest A. Love Airport and started North Aire Training Center in the mid 1970’s. He was a skilled pilot.  He truly enjoyed flying and used this passion to fly friends to events and even helped the local Funeral Homes bring back loved ones after their passing.  During a flight to Flagstaff, he had a major engine failure which cause the plane to crash outside of Flagstaff and was able to walk away unscathed.

Marlin was also the owner of the Colony Inn (now known as the Rodeway Inn) and then started Airport Centre (which consisted of a hotel, extended stay apartments, convenience store and offices) which provided a unique opportunity to combine his support for the Airport and the need for lodging in Prescott. Many of the steel buildings across from Yavapai College were built by Marlin and were successful businesses that he had started until they were sold to the college.

According to Marlin’s family, he loved Prescott from the minute he got here and wanted to help the city in any way he could. His focus was on providing jobs for the citizens of Prescott through his business ventures.  Marlin served on Council several different times. He was elected to the Prescott City Council in 1971, and later was appointed to the Council in 1991 to fill the remainder of an unexpired term. In 2009, Marlin overwhelmingly won the Mayoral election. He went on to serve for 3 terms before choosing not to seek re-election for a 4th term in 2015.  

Marlin enjoyed Puerto Penasco, Mexico (Rocky Point) and in the late 1990’s started to purchase properties.  He then met Tana and once married they worked together to build a beautiful dream home overlooking the Sea of Cortez. They loved to entertain family and guests and became part of the Rocky Point Mexico Community.

Nothing could match Marlin’s wide, welcoming smile and hand clasp, or his droll sense of humor. Marlin was a great negotiator and an excellent Ambassador for the City of Prescott for over six decades. His willingness to listen and his personal charm brought this self-made man success in anything he put his mind to.  He never met a stranger and was always willing to help others when needed.  He was always very humble and wanted others to receive credit with little attention upon himself.    

Marlin deeply loved his family and his wife Tana, who passed away on September 3rd, eight months after he did. They were married for 20 years. He is survived by his sons, Michael Kuykendall (Kim), Pat Kuykendall, Ren Kuykendall (Rebecca); stepchildren Robin (Cherise) Hyslip and Nancy (Bill) Davis; grandchildren Shawn (married to Ashley), Drew (married to Kelsie) Kaylee Finken (Brandon), Greyson, Griffin, and Georgia Kuykendall, and step grandchildren Magen Roberson, Zac Wesson and Aaron Wesson.  He is also survived by five great grandchildren.

Marlin was preceded in death by his parents and older brothers.

Tana Jo (Barr) Kuykendall passed away on September 3, 2021 at her home in Prescot Arizona. She was 76 years old. 

Tana was born to Dorothy and Fred Barofsky on May 2, 1945 in Seattle, Washington. Later when she was 2, the family moved to Pasadena, California. 

When Tana graduated from high school in Pasadena, she began her career as an Executive Secretary and Administrator and was known to be very efficient and organized.  She was a planner in both her professional and personal life.

Tana always had time for her family, and was a loving, unselfish sister. She was pleasant, but feisty, fun, and witty. 

Tana was married to Marlin Kuykendall for 20 years, and easily settled into the Prescott lifestyle at that time. She was an excellent golfer and loved interior decorating. She was a gourmet cook, enjoyed traveling and tasting new cuisines. She was extremely patriotic and was proud to participate in local organizations such as the Republican Women of Prescott.

Tana was Marlin’s partner in every sense of the word. She loved being “First Lady” of Prescott and standing beside her husband while he served as Mayor of Prescott. She was outgoing, gracious, and charming. She collaborated with him in his numerous business ventures. 

Tana and Marlin had a second home in Puerto Penasco (also known as Rocky Point), Mexico, where they frequently entertained friends and family. Tana loved Mexico and went as often as she could.

Tana was preceded in death by her parents, her youngest sister Vicki, and her husband Marlin. She is survived by older brother Doug (Lilo) Barofsky younger sisters Ora (Paul) Maikoski and Lora (Mike) Winn, and younger brother James (Peggy) Alexander; plus, numerous stepchildren, nephews and nieces.

In lieu of flowers, the families ask that donations be made to the following charities and organizations: 

  • American Cancer Society
  • US Vets, Prescott
  • Yavapai Humane Society 
  • Yavapai Exceptional Industries

The families of Marlin and Tana would like to Thank the Staff at Thumb Butte Medical Center (Dr. Hojat Askari) and Arizona Oncology for their caring support and attentiveness as our loved ones battled cancer the past four years.  We also want to give a special Thanks to Compassus Hospice Care in Prescott Valley for their professionalism, empathy, and compassion during the final transition of life for Marlin and Tana. We appreciate all the thoughts, prayers and kindness from the Prescott Community and Yavapai County over the past few years.  The love of Prescott and the legacy of Marlin and Tana Kuykendall will never be forgotten but will grow stronger through our great group of friends and family!

A Public Memorial Service for both Marlin and Tana will be held on Thursday, November 4th at 10 AM at the Grace Sparks Activity Center on East Gurley Street. From 5-7 PM, a joint Celebration of Life for Marlin and Tana will be held for family and friends at the Prescott Centennial Center on 1989 Wineglass Drive. A private family interment will be at 1:30 PM at the Prescott National Cemetery. 


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Last modified on Tuesday, 02 November 2021 13:28
Published in Prescott.news
Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Editor and Publisher of CopperState News. In her past life, she was the founder of a successful local news media publication in the Prescott area. She started CopperState News with the idea that local news deserves a statewide platform.

Besides prowling around for community news - especially good news! - Lynne and her husband Lewis enjoy their eight children and six grandchildren (although more are always welcome!). Lynne is connected non-stop to her camera and loves creating unique gifts with her Cricut!

One of her favorite sayings is, "It's not about me!"


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