Obituary: John Lentz

John Franklin Lentz, 87, of Ellerbe, N.C., died Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 after a brief illness.

John Lentz

John Lentz

Born in Charlotte on Aug. 7, 1927, John started fishing and hunting at the age of six under the guidance of an uncle, the late Clyde Townsend, who instilled a wildlife ethic that lasted a lifetime.

John helped organize the Sandhills Rod and Gun Club in 1955, serving as its president for 22 years. He received a life membership from the award-winning club in 1977.

He was a member of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation beginning in 1959, and was elected the organization’s president in 1981. He also served three terms as the central vice president. John was named the North Carolina Conservationist of the Year in 1988, and was installed in the North Carolina Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999.

John served as the region three director of the National Wildlife Federation from 1985 until 1995, covering the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia, and received a lifetime membership from the West Virginia Wildlife Federation during that time. He was Gov. Jim Hunt’s appointee to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission from 1993 until 1999, where he served as chairman until 1997. John was on the chairman’s advisory committee from 1983 through 1985, and was presented the NCWRC Silver District Conservation Award of Merit in 1985. He was Lt Gov. Bob Jordan’s appointee to the NCWRC in 1987-1989 and was re-appointed by Gov. Hunt to the commission from 1999 to 2005.

John was the director of the North Carolina Forestry Association from 1983 until 1990, and was chairman of the North Carolina Forestry Council. He was also a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and worked to increase the wild turkey population in the Sandhills for many years.

In 2000, John was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors given to a citizen ofNorth Carolina. He was recognized as the News and Observer’s Tarheel of the Week in May 1989 for his conservation efforts, and in 1995 was presented the North Carolina Partner-in-4H award, the highest honor given by 4-H.

In 1997, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission honored John by renaming the Hunter Education Complex at Millstone 4-H near Ellerbe as the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex.

John was educated at Ellerbe School and at Duke University. At Duke, he was a member of the basketball and baseball teams in 1944 and 1945. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Duke in 1948 and played baseball for Coach Jack Coombs. A distinguished athlete, John was approached by scouts from the Detroit Tigers baseball team but chose to maintain a family-owned peach business rather than pursue a career in baseball.

His affiliation with sports continued into the 1950s, both as a member of the Ellerbe All-Stars semiprofessional basketball team and as a coach. He coached the Richmond County Post 49 American Legion baseball team into the 1960s, and was also the coach of a semiprofessional women’s basketball team from Richmond County.

John was employed by the U.S. Postal Service, and served a morning rural mail route in the Ellerbe area for 34 years, retiring in 1983.

In addition to his mail route, John began a forestry management business in 1964. He began Lentz Realty and Forestry in 1975, which he continued until his illness.

John is survived by his wife, Lucille Stanton Lentz of the home; a son, John W. Lentz and a daughter-in-law, Carmen Scarboro Lentz, both of Laurinburg; a stepgrandson, Andrew Tanner Huggins ofWashington D.C.; and a grandson, William Shawn “Liam” Lentz of Laurinburg. He was predeceased by his parents, John Franklin Lentz, Sr. and Alma Townsend Lentz; a sister, Jacqueline Lentz Carriker; and a brother-in-law, Heath Carriker.

Funeral services will be Thursday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at Ellerbe First United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. prior to the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the North Carolina Wildlife Federation at 1024 Washington St., Raleigh, NC 27605 or to the National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190.

Carter Funeral Home of Ellerbe is assisting the Lentz Family. Condolences may be made online

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The Pee Dee Post
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

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