July 23, 1928 - October 4, 2020
Richard Lee Lenz, Sr. passed away at his home in Sheridan, WY and entered peacefully into the glory of heaven on October 4, 2020. Richard, better known as Dick, was born the seventh child of German immigrants, George Jacob Lenz and Catharina (Wagner) Lenz on July 23, 1928 in Shoshoni, Wyoming. His family settled in the Clearmont area of Wyoming where he attended schools in Leiter, Yorky Gap, and Cadiz prior to graduating from Clearmont High School in 1946. During those years, Dick worked the family farm raising sugar beets and took an interest in athletics as a member of the high school basketball team. He became more fluent in German by working closely with several POW’s housed in the Clearmont camp during WWII. The many stories he shared of this time were both enlightening and educational. Some have been displayed in length at the Museum of the Bighorns (formerly the Sheridan County Museum).
Upon graduation, Dick moved to San Francisco where he worked for the Hawaiian Nectar Gum factory and the Simmons, Co. His brief venture into California added generously to his life experiences, but Clearmont remained home. He returned to assist with the farm tasks and eventually accepted other employment with the Bureau of Reclamation at Moorhead, MT. Dick moved to Sheridan in 1948 where he worked at Mulholland Motor Co. (the local DeSoto, Plymouth, and Allis-Chalmers dealer). He married Marge Barthelow, and they brought three children into the world: Nancy, Debbie, and Richard (Rick) Jr. He began working at the Skyline Drive-in Theater in 1951 and managed full operations from 1960 thru 1977. Those long nights before the big screen also brought about a litany of colorful happenings. As if one job was not enough, he took on additional employment in 1954 at Mossholder’s Furniture where he served for 31 years!
On August 2, 1959 he married his second wife, Karen Olline Baker. They gave birth to a son, Timothy (Tim) Lenz in 1964. In 1985, Dick left Mossholder’s and joined the team at First Interstate Bank as purchasing manager for the Wyoming branches. Karen would lose her life to Multiple Sclerosis in November of 1989. Dick continued working at the bank, and it was during this employment he would meet his third wife, Ione Hatcher-Royce. Her sons, Jurgen and Doran Hatcher shared in the nuptials on June 15, 1996. Dick eventually retired fully in 2010. He and Ione remained together until his passing.
Dick kept busy beyond the routine job assignments. He enjoyed snowmobiling, genealogy, WWII history, and taking photographs (especially of his children and events in the surrounding area). He was a past member of the Jaycees and Chamber of Commerce. He was also a loyal supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Sheridan Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Fort Phil Kearny Bozeman Trail Association, the WYO Theatre, the Sheridan High School Booster Club, the Cowboy Joe Club, and the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. Dick was a devoted member of Immanuel Lutheran Church where he served in many capacities over the years. His generous, historical contributions to the Museum of the Bighorns, Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library (especially the Wyoming Room), and the Clearmont Historical Group, remain invaluable. He will be remembered for his strong work ethic, his abundant enthusiasm for picture-taking, his arduous efforts to trace family history, and (certainly not the least) the creative nicknames he gave to friends, family members and co-workers.
He is preceded in death by parents George and Catharina; his first wife, Marge (Barthelow); his second wife, Karen (Baker); his brothers, William (Bill), George Jr., and Fred; his sisters Olga (Mitchell), Lillian (Ellenwood), and Helen (Kaiser); his daughters Nancy (Middendorf) and Debbie (St. Pierre); and stepson Jurgen Hatcher.
He is survived by his wife Ione; sons Rick (Margaret) and Tim (Beth), both of Sheridan; Ione’s son Doran (Alma) of Billings, MT; grandchildren Jessica (Jeff) Young of Linwood, KS, Katie (Chris) Knoll of Fayetteville, NY, Sam Lenz of Fort Collins, CO, and Adam Lenz of Great Falls, MT; great grandchildren Haley and Benton Young, and Ava and Liam Knoll.
Services will be held at 10:00am on Friday, October 23rd at Immanuel Lutheran Church followed by interment at the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorials be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church or Martin Luther Grammar School, both at 1300 W 5th St, Sheridan, WY.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.