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Charles L. Lentz

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Charles L. LENTZ Charles L. Lentz, devoted son, husband, father and WWII veteran, passed away 7 March 2011. 'Charlie' was born 18 July 1923 in Baker, MT, youngest son of Edward (a Spanish-American War veteran) & Sophie Lentz. At age two, his family moved to Redmond where, during his youth, he helped in his father's general store 'E.O. Notions' on Main Street and was the Redmond paperboy for the Seattle Times. A star athlete for Redmond School in football, basketball, tennis and track (Charlie said it wasn't so hard back then) - he was an avid downhill skier who also won the 1940 Redmond Bicycle Derby - a 26 mile race around Lake Sammamish. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep the prize money; he'd have lost his amateur status. He attended the UW (50+ years attending Husky football games) and worked at Kirkland shipyards before enlisting in the Navy in 1943. He was a 'Seabee' in England before and after D-Day, and later in California. Besides typical military duties, Charlie played football against squads from other service branches - at times flying across Europe on an admiral's private plane to compete. His first date with Mary Ellen Peterson was attending a state high school basketball tournament. She'd caught his attention at another game, and, after asking who that cute new girl was, he found out she was his buddy's high school English teacher!They shared a mutual interest in sports and married in 1948. After his Navy discharge, he spent his entire career at Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company. Responsible for installation, repair and management of telecommunications equipment & systems, his work included installations at the Seattle Center for the 1962 World's Fair (he never forgot riding the construction elevator of the Space Needle, holding only a two by four) and many office towers built from the late 60s thru early 80s. He organized the annual Redmond School reunions and enjoyed summers at the cabin in Birch Bay - building fantastic rafts for his kids, crabbing, and perfecting his master salmon barbequing skills. He shared his love of skiing by teaching his children locally and taking them to Whistler starting in 1970. He coached little league baseball, church league basketball, and was a wizard growing fuchsias and anything green. After retirement, Charlie volunteered for the Telephone Pioneer's Museum, repairing and maintaining antique switchboards and phones. He is survived by his wife of 62 years; their children - Jim Lentz, Steve (Joanne) Lentz, Dr. Gretchen Lentz, and Julie (Art) Jonson; three grandchildren - Alex and Andrew Jonson, and Emma Lentz; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, and siblings, Philip 'Bud' Lentz, Elizabeth 'Betty' Allen, and Jane Smith. Friends and family are invited to a celebration of his life at Haller Lake United Methodist Church (13055 1st Ave NE) on Saturday 19 March at 2 PM.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 16, 2011
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