Conservationist, 4-H friend John Lentz dies at 87

Photo by Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Sidney Hughes, 17, of the Bunker Hill Hunter Safety Team from Catawba, takes her turn on the 12-gauge shotgun firing range at the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex during the 36th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament at Millstone 4-H Center hosted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The event was held April 26, 2014.

Photo by Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Sidney Hughes, 17, of the Bunker Hill Hunter Safety Team from Catawba, takes her turn on the 12-gauge shotgun firing range at the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex during the 36th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament at Millstone 4-H Center hosted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The event was held April 26, 2014.

Special to The Pee Dee Post

John Franklin Lentz, of Ellerbe, died Monday at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst. He was 87.

According to a paper written for a history display at the Rankin Museum in Ellerbe, Lentz had decades of service to the state of North Carolina. That service extended to his community.

“The positive influence of John’s quiet leadership continues to have a profound impact,” said Gordon Myers, executive director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, in an email to The Pee Dee Post. “He was a distinguished conservationist and true gentleman whose contributions will be long remembered.”

In 2000, Gov. James B. Hunt inducted Lentz into The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors a governor bestows upon residents. Lentz was a farmer and forester in the Ellerbe area and elsewhere, and also operated Lentz Realty.

Lentz had more than 22 years of service as a member of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission appointed by governors to serve, and more than 22 years of service to the state Wildlife Federation. He was chairman of the WRC from 1993 to 1997.

A very tangible honor for him is the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Center at Camp Millstone, named for him in 1997. Working with the 4-H program at Millstone, Lentz was instrumental in establishing the center. The N.C. Partner-in-4-H Award was presented to him in 1995.

When Lentz completed his term on the WRC board of directors on May 20, 2005, WRC Chairman John E. Pechmann honored him with a resolution which stated, “John has provided critical leadership and long-term support for wildlife management, hunter education, youth programs and outdoor education programs.”

WRCOther positions he held with the WRC include: WRC chairman of the advisory committee, 1983 to 1985; and chairman of the Small Game, Big Game and Non-game wildlife committees.

Lentz joined the state Wildlife Federation in 1959 and was elected to its board of directors in 1978.

Following his service to that organization as vice president, Lentz was selected to serve as its president until 1981. In 1988, he was named North Carolina Conservationist of the Year and in 1999 Lentz was inducted into the North Carolina Conservation Hall of Fame.

His influence spread in NWF when, from 1985 to 1995, he was regional director for the board.

Lentz was chairman of the state Forestry Council from 2000 to 2007 and had been an advisor to the Clean Water Management Fund. He was presented the Governor’s Award in 2007.

Locally, Lentz was one of the organizers of the Sandhills Rod and Gun Club in 1995 and served as its president for 22 years. He also served on other local boards, including the Rankin Museum’s.

 

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Filed in: Farm & Ag, Latest Headlines, News, Obits, Outdoors

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