The world received a precious gift when John Albert Lenhart was born on Sept. 28, 1946. He brought a free spirit, a sense of independence, an ability to make others laugh with quick wit and a terrific sense of humor, willingness to lend friends a hand, and a heart filled with love. He left this world on Nov. 6, 2008, after a lengthy battle with cancer, but he left his mark in the hearts of those he left behind.
John was born in Portland, Ore., to Olive and Fredrick Lenhart and spent the majority of his school years attending parochial schools in Portland. Eventually John's family moved to Walla Walla, Wash., where he graduated from high school and met and married Marjo Unck in 1966. To this union, Shannon Elizabeth Lenhart was born. The marriage was eventually dissolved. John spent his early years working for various Caterpillar companies that moved him to locations in both Oregon and Washington. In the late 1970s, Tractor & Equipment Co. brought John and his family to Billings.
John met and married his soul mate and love of his life, Becky Fjelstad Stenson, on May 2, 1987. Their marriage was filled with love and laughter, family and friends. John took great pride toiling with Becky in their beautifully landscaped yard. They enjoyed sharing their home with others. The two also loved golfing and traveling together. In February of 2007, their 20th wedding anniversary was celebrated with a Hawaiian Cruise that remains a very fond memory. As a pastime, John enjoyed working on his classic cars and had an extensive knowledge of Mustang automobiles.
John was always a natural salesman and made others comfortable in his presence. In 1989, he became District Sales Manager for Gates Rubber Company of Denver and covered a three-state region for 16 years. In 2006, John took a sales position with A&I Products, this time covering a five-state area. He remained with A&I Products until he resigned in April due to failing health.
John leaves behind his wife, Becky, of 21 years; his daughter, Shannon Elizabeth Stephenson and grandchildren Jackson and Callie of Waynesville, Ill.; his stepchildren whom John considered his own daughter and son, Traci Hildner (Jason) of Portland, Ore., and Todd Stenson (Kayla) of Billings. John also leaves his sisters, Freddie Ricketts (Ron) of North Bend, Ore., Michele Stephens of Lacey, Wash., and Marge (Bob) Anderson of Portland. John was preceded in death by his parents, Olive and Fred Lenhart.
John, we will miss your ability to make us laugh, your gentle touch, your kind heart and your love. May you find peace and contentment as God takes you Home where we will be together again someday.
Special appreciation goes to Dr. James Burke, Dr. Tom Purcell, as well as the nurses and staff who worked so closely with John at the Billings Clinic Oncology Department and Hospital. You gave us the comfort, empathy and the care we needed during difficult times.
Memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Billings Clinic Foundation, Hospice or the cancer charity of your choice.
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be left for the family at www.michelottisawyers.com.