Leonard Wayne Fichtner, 78, of Billings, passed peacefully on Tuesday, March 5, 2018, surrounded by family. He was born July 17, 1939, in Billings, to Theodore and Lydia Fichtner. He was baptized and confirmed in the First Congregational Church in Laurel, and recently, he served as Head of the Trustees. He attended grade school in Laurel, and graduated from Bridger High School in 1957. He married the love of his life Jeanne Kansala on August 15, 1959. Together they raised three children, Ken, Kala, and Kelly.
Leonard began working with his father, at the age of 14, servicing cars at the Conoco Service Station in Bridger. Following graduation, he began selling cars and managing the dealership. He was on the Bridger Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Bridger Lions Club, a member of Golden Fleece Masonic Lodge #66, later serving as Worshipful Master. He refereed High School Basketball and broadcasted many tournament games.
In 1961, at the age of 21, he bought the Chevrolet dealership in Bridger from his father and was the youngest GM franchise dealer at the time. In 1965, he purchased Modern Chevrolet in Laurel and combined both dealerships into one, under the name of Fichtner Chevrolet. He was an active member of the Laurel Community for 49 years. He was involved in the establishment of First Security Bank, a member of the Laurel Jaycees, Laurel Chamber of Commerce, and Laurel Rotary Club. In 1994 he received the Chamber’s Business Person of the Year Award. He supported many non-profit organizations in the community. He served as Worthy Patron of Zidonian Chapter #50 of Eastern Star, Dad Advisor of Norman C. Johnson Order of DeMolay, as well as District 10 Governor. He worked on the Advisory Board of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls #39 of Laurel and was a State Executive Committee Member. He was a member of the Scottish Rite, York Rite Bodies, Director of Jesters Court 87, and Potentate of Al Bedoo Shrine Temple.
He served on the National Auto Dealer Board of Directors for 12 years, chaired many commitees, and served as the National Secretary in 1996. He received the prestigious Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year award in 2003 for the state of MT.
Leonard’s hobbies included wood working, golfing, fishing, and a passion for acquiring various collectables. He was well known for his “gift of gab” and had a heart of gold. He enjoyed being “Santa” to everyone he knew, especially his family.
He is survived by his wife Jeanne of 58 years; his son Ken (Kathy) Fichtner; grandsons Matthew and Madison Fichtner; daughter Kala (Cory) Aguado; grandson Skyler Fichtner Aguado; daughter Kelly (Todd) Klein; granddaughter Kortney Klein; grandson Tanner (Taylor) Klein; great granddaughters Paislee Lanchbury & Ezry Olson, and his brother Dennis (Rose) Fichtner. He was preceded in death by his parents Theodore and Lydia Fichtner and a stillborn sibling.
The family wishes to thank the staff and nurses of Billings Clinic, The Transitional Cottage of St. Johns, and the Advanced Care Hospital for their compassionate care.
Services will be held at the First Congregational Church, 506 S. 5th St. Laurel, MT on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests the following memorials:
First Congregational Church (Laurel, MT);
Shriner’s Hospital for Children (Tampa, FL);
Local Walk for Multiple Sclerosis (c/o Kelly Klein 6612 Donny Drive Billings, MT 59106);
Or a charity of one’s choice