Jarod “JJ” Robert Friend, June 9, 2002~April 22, 2024

Apr 24, 2024

Jarod Robert Friend, a lifelong resident of Northwest Arkansas, died unexpectedly on April 22, 2024 at the young age of 21.

Jarod, or “JJ” as he is affectionately known by his close family and friends, was born on June 09, 2002 to Elizabeth Brooke Murphy in Pea Ridge Arkansas. He was adopted in 2009 by his father Kenneth Robert Friend. Jarod was born blind but did not let that keep him from leading a full and enriching life.  He often used his blindness as a way to help others gain new perspectives on life.  Jarod graduated from Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas in May of 2021.  Jarod never married but loved many people deeply. He aspired to become involved with the music industry and bring his love for music to others.

Jarod is survived by his mother Brooke Johnson her husband Andrew, his father Kenneth Friend, sisters Sarah Murphy, Hannah Murphy, Haley Dufoe, Julieanne Talley, and Alana Johnson, brothers Daniel Friend, Tiger Dufoe, Christopher Friend, and Alex Johnson, great grandparents Margaret Murphy, Kenneth McMullin, and Kaye McMullin, Grandparents David and Cheryl Murphy, Stacey Murphy, Gerald Friend, and Kelly Friend, his favorite niece Enzlee Keeling, as well as many more extended family members including aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his great grandparents Jake Murphy, Robert Friend, and Gail Friend.

Jarod was a constant comedian and sound aficionado. He had a cutting humor that often took people by surprise, but always had a way of cutting right to the heart of whatever was happening.  He loved to tell jokes, play games, swing in his hammock, and jump on trampolines. But his largest passion was sound. He loved to record and manipulate sound in many ways and was himself a musician. He loved to write original and parody lyrics for songs and to record those and manipulate them. Jarod was well known as the kind of person who loved you for who you are and not what you are. He passionately opposed injustices and often took stands against them. He loved to share his knowledge and skills with others and changed the lives of many through his passion for helping others to understand people that were not like themselves.

A funeral service is scheduled for Friday, April 26, 2024 at 10am at Beard’s Funeral Chapel in Fayetteville, AR.

There is no scheduled visitation.

Interment will be private in Round Mountain Cemetery.

Instead of sending flowers the family would prefer if you made a donation to the American Foundation for the Blind at https://afb.org/waystogive in his memory.




14 Condolences

  1. Alicia Beasley

    Kenneth – You have my deepest condolences and support. This is beyond difficult. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time.

  2. Kam lucas

    I can’t belive this hsppend, he was so bright, full of life, and loved everyone/everything. He knew what to say, he knew when to joke and not. He was truly amazing and this is such a hurting loss. I can’t even imagine how anybody else feels. Jarod will live on by those who he touched and made an impression on. I could never have thought this might happen bur I will forever celebrate him and everything he stood for. RIP Jarod you will always be remembered

  3. Aley Houston

    I want to say how funny and thoughtful and silly Jarod was in all the classes I took with him. He was a joy and an honor to know. He was so kind and generous. The world is dimmer without him and my deepest and greatest condolences to his loved ones. He will be deeply missed and remembered.

  4. Dianne Uhl

    Kenneth, I am so very sorry for the loss of your son, Jarod. Please know that I am thinking of you and your family and offer my heartfelt condolences.

  5. Ryan Lamjid

    Kenneth, I am so deeply saddened to hear about your loss. I will keep you and your family my thoughts.

  6. Becky Brooks

    Kenneth, I am so very heart broken for you. Praying you and your family.

  7. Sherri Runge

    Kenneth, my heart goes out to you in this very difficult time. Sounds like Jarod was an amazing young man that, as you mentioned, touched many people. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family and all that knew him.

  8. Tyrell Phillips

    Sorry for your lost

  9. Amy R.

    Kenneth, I’m terribly sorry for your loss, prayers and thoughts to you and your family!

  10. Judy Lennon

    My heart is heavy for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you on this horrific loss.

  11. Magen Friend

    Meeting Jarod when he was a young boy has been a highlight of my life, along with his siblings. He was so full of joy and noise, as he grew into the amazing young man he became I admired how all of his friends and family spoke of him. My favorite memory was when he would show me songs he composed when we stayed with them one time. He let me play the tantruming cat, because “Magen you are not good at piano” He was not wrong. His cackles still ring in my ear when I think back to that time.

  12. Steve King

    Very sorry for your loss. Your family is in my prayers.

  13. Jackson Hight

    I had the joy and privilege of going to school with Jarod since elementary at Happy
    Hollow. We were in the same grade and continued going to school together until graduation. While we were not particularly close, I was lucky enough to talk with Jarod a few times throughout our time spent at the same schools. Jarod inspired me as well as many others to live with courage and kindness and never let an obstacle stop you from moving forward. His optimism was infectious and his soul so kind. Even from a distance Jarod was a beacon of light and positivity. I am so sorry for your loss and your family is in my prayers.


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