Gene F. Lenz

September 26, 2023


Funeral services for Gene Lenz, age 90, of Lusk were held on September 30, 2023, at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lusk, WY, with the Reverend Darren Pflughoeft presiding. Burial followed at the Lusk Municipal Cemetery. 

Gene passed from this life at Shepherd of the Valley Rehabilitation and Wellness in Casper, WY on September 26, 2023. 

He was born to Henry and Carrie Lingwood Lenz in February 1933, on the family farm seven miles north of Lusk. Gene was a life-long member of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church; he was baptized on April 16, 1933, and confirmed on December 15, 1946. 

While growing up on the farm, Gene was given several responsibilities. Every morning before breakfast he would help with the milking and then deliver the milk to the creamery in Lusk on his way to school. After school he would pick up the empty cans and return them to the barn and help milk in the evening. While he didn't have a lot of free time, Gene was active in FFA and National Honor Society while in high school.

Following graduation from Lusk High School in 1952, Gene enlisted in the Army. Between graduation and leaving for Camp Polk, LA, he worked for T.A. Godfrey who owned the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd street in Lusk. 

Gene was on his way across the ocean to Korea when the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in July 1953. During service in Korea, he earned the National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, and the ROK Presidential Unit Citation, and he rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in March 1955.

Upon his release, Gene attended the University of Wyoming (UW). He majored in Agriculture and was active in Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He graduated from UW in June 1959; he was the first member of his family to graduate from college. He always said he wanted to be a veterinarian but hadn't taken the prerequisite courses needed to do so.

He met his wife, Joan Renkel, in 1958 while they were both attending the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX and cheering on the UW Cowboys (UW won 14-6). They were married in Sheridan, WY on August 14, 1960. Together they raised four daughters: Leslie Lenz Hammond, Laurie Lenz Vogel, Tyler Lenz Kemmer, and Kari Lenz. 

Gene's career began at Aetna Finance Company in Denver, CO in 1959. He then went to Des Moines, IA in 1961 to work for Ford Motor Credit Company. In 1962, he took a job with a Savings and Loan, Courtesy Finance Company (later renamed Hometown Finance), in Cheyenne, WY. In 1967, he returned to Lusk to take a position at Lusk State Bank; he was named president in 1986 and left in 1991. He then started Lenz Realty where he formed several of his most valued friendships. 

Gene took up ranching as soon as he returned to Lusk and even took up farming in his later years. He was insistent on his pastures having strong, straight fences and expected his neighbors to have the same.

He was a life-long member of the Republican party and actively worked to get state and county officials elected. During the 70s he served as Treasurer for the WY State Republican Party and President of the Lusk Chamber of Commerce. 

Those who knew Gene knew he was generally late, often stubborn and didn’t like being told what to do (he called it "being programmed"), but he was honest to a fault and told you what he thought. He was always willing to help someone in need. Gene demonstrated a strong work ethic his entire life and didn't stop working on his ranch until he was 88.  

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Carrie Lingwood Lenz; half sister, Alma Lingwood (Oscar) Bostrom; half brother, Ralph (Betty) Lingwood; sister, Fern Lenz (Don) Taylor; brother, Richard (Jennie) Lenz; sister-in-law, Martha Hales Lenz; and grandson, Andrew Hammond.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan; daughter and son-in-law, Leslie and Jay Hammond of Lusk, WY; daughter and son-in-law, Laurie and Ken Vogel of Erie, CO; daughter and son-in-law, Tyler and Marlin Kemmer of Phoenix, AZ; daughter and son-in-law, Kari Lenz and Ben Rafter of Seattle, WA; brother, Hugo Lenz of Wheatland, WY; sister-in-law, Jane Renkel of Denver, CO;  grandchildren, Corrine Latham, Adrienne Hammond, Katie Stahl, Tana Kormen, Mara Scottie, Trevor Vogel, and Taylor Vogel; great-grandchildren, Ella, Grace and Ethan Latham, and Lincoln and Lucy Stahl; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and the Niobrara County Library Endowment.

Pier Funeral Home oversaw the funeral arrangements.