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Leonard H. WILKENING

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, on May 8, 1925. Died peacefully on January 9, 2013 at the age of 87. Preceded in death by parents, Benjamin Wilkening and Ivy Henly Wilkening, wife, Jean Hunt Wilkening, brothers Eric and Clifford Wilkening, and youngest son, Ronald Wilkening. Survived by brother Kenneth Wilkening, son, David Wilkening, daughters Pamela Arnold and Sara Zoff, grandchildren Prairie (Jennie) Arnold, Amanda (Hal) Senal, Mark Zoff, Benjamin Arnold and Paul Wilkening, beautiful great-granddaughter Brooklyn Arnold, many nieces and nephews, friends, family and longtime best friend and second love, Norrine Bohman. Leonard grew up in Regina and later Otterville, Missouri, and loved hockey and farming with his brothers as a child and young man. He served in the US Navy Air Corps from 1943 until 1945. Leonard and Jean, who married in 1947, both attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa where he received his BA degree. Leonard began his lifetime social services career with six YMCA organizations in Iowa and Ohio. He directed Camp Foster in Spencer, Iowa, and later built and directed operations for Camp Tippecanoe in Canton, Ohio. He completed his master's degree in sociology at Kent State University in 1964. Between 1964 and 1968 Leonard directed the United Community Service program in Racine, Wisconsin, from which he was recruited by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Leonard joined Wilder in 1968 and served as the CEO and President from 1971 until he retired in 1990. After retirement, Leonard continued to consult with many organizations, and was instrumental in starting Como Friends, the nonprofit fundraising organization for Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. He and Jean enjoyed many beautiful times in a vacation home they built on Lake Pokegama in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, until her death in 1996. He was able to travel extensively and began to paint beautiful pictures of places he discovered. Leonard was always an avid outdoorsman and fished throughout his life all over the United States and Canada with many friends and family. He loved Hamline United Methodist Church, and was an active member there for many years. Above all else, Leonard loved his family and spending time with them. He will be missed tremendously by so many. There will be a service to celebrate Leonard's life on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM at the Hamline United Methodist Church, 1514 Englewood Street, St. Paul, MN 55104. Memorials are preferred to Como Friends and Hamline United Methodist Church.




Published in Pioneer Press on Jan. 13, 2013
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