The son of Earle and Brownie, Lyndon claimed he was conceived in a buffalo wallow and delivered by a dog, Dr. Beagle. Lyndon grew up on the hi-line during the great depression, moving frequently. Family lore has it that they sent Lyndon’s little brother, PeeWee, to the store for bread and moved while he was gone. It was in elementary school that a teacher told Brownie her son would grow up to be an artist.
The family settled in Havre. In 1943, Lyndon enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and became a fighter pilot. After the war, Lyndon attended college on the GI bill; the first in his family. He had to choose between Bozeman and Missoula. He picked Bozeman because the art classes had live nude models. Lyndon received his Bachelor of Applied Arts and his Masters in Art from Bozeman. He taught at Northern Montana College and then Eastern Montana College, kicking the teaching habit in 1961.
He made his living as a sculptor from then on. When creating sculpture in steel the process was controlled by five anatomies. The anatomies had no particular order or importance. They were the material being used, the tool being applied to the material, the theme of the idea, his knowledge of the materials and his skill level with the tools, and the monkey on his back.
Lyndon’s monumental sculptures can be found in Havre (Hands Across the Border, The Empire Builders), Billings (7th Calvary Guidon Trooper, the Tranny men, Phylogenic Continuum), Helena (Sluice Box Fountain), and Great Falls (Sun Talker, Golden Eagle, Come Unto Me). Other large pieces can be found in Wyoming, Washington, and Wisconsin, to name a few. His smaller pieces are in homes and collections throughout the world. In 1966 Lyndon won a national religious art prize for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
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Lyndon’s larger projects became a family affair. Lyndon’s bride, Lenore, would do research on historical artifacts, photographs, etc. She kept meticulous records of time, material and expenses. The boys, Deen, Dru, and Derik, would help in the studio, cutting, grinding, cleaning, and welding. Lyndon’s daughter, Decora, and her husband Fred, would provide logistical support, including equipment, for the delivery and installation of the pieces.
A true son of Montana, Lyndon’s hobbies included fly-fishing, hunting, and flying aircraft. For years Lyndon had a group of friends that he met in his home for coffee. A doctor once asked Lyndon how many cups of coffee he drank a day. His answer: I drink it by the pot. Neighbors would bring broken lawnmowers, metal chairs, etc. and ask if he could fix them. He always did, and said it was guaranteed to hold until it broke.
Lyndon was proceeded in death by his parents, his brothers Earl, Jr. (U.S. Army wounded at the Chosin Reservoir), and LaVern (everybody called him PeeWee). He is survived by his bride of 66 years Lenore, one sister, Tivola Liedle, four children, Decora (Fred) Jorgensen, Deen (Sally), Dru, and Derik (I –Ho), 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Lyndon will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 5th at Heights Family Funeral Home in Billings. In Lieu of flowers, Lyndon would ask that you donate to Growth Thru Art, a nonprofit in Billings (1050 S. 25th St W, Ste #2, Billings, MT 59102; (406) 656-0928). Lyndon’s favorite color was purple.