OBITUARY

Myron Julian Lencioni

February 16, 1925February 24, 2018
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He was born in Kenosha, WI on February 16, 1925. Myron graduated from Waukegan Township High School (Illinois) in June, 1943 and received a banking degree from Illinois Banker’s School in cooperation with Southern Illinois University in September, 1969.

Myron was inducted into the army in July, 1943. He landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944. After D-Day, he fought in several battles in Northern France including Hill 192 and the battle for Saint-Lo. After 56 continuous days in combat, he received the wound that ended his time in combat. He received two Bronze Star medals and two Purple Heart medals.

After the war he returned home and married Bernice Eileen Brown on August 5, 1950. They raised their three children in Waukegan, Illinois. He worked for over 30 years in banking for the National Bank of North Chicago, working his way up to Vice President of Operations. He retired in 1987 at the age of 62. While working he was an active member of the American Legion and was a president / past president of Kiwanis: Waukegan Chapters.

In 1992, after a lifetime of living in Waukegan, he and Bernice decided to escape the cold winters of the Midwest and move to Discovery Bay, not far from their daughter Lynn and her husband. In Discovery Bay, he became an active member of the Senior Men’s Club and SIRs for the past 25 years. Myron had the opportunity and time to work on his golf and bowling skills, take up downhill skiing, learn bridge and travel the world including seeing the country his father was born and raised in - Italy.

Myron was a loving husband to Bernice until her death on February 22, 1997. He found love a second time to Nancy Lee Dennis Liebensberger and they married on May 9, 1998. They enjoyed a wonderful retirement together for nearly 20 years.

He is survived by his wife Nancy; his son and daughter-in-law, Leonard and Pam Lencioni of Huntley, IL; his daughter and son-in-law, Lynn and Kevin Reedy of Pleasanton, CA; his grandson and wife, Mike and Erin Lencioni of Hawthorn Woods, IL and their children Carissa, Zachary and Aria; his granddaughter and husband, Elaine and Hal Woo of Johnstown, CO and their son Owen; his granddaughter and husband Erin and Jay Williams of Fresno, CA; his great grandson Cris Williams of Portland, OR; and his great granddaughter, Karra Williams of Fresno, CA.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Marino and Julia Lencioni; his wife, Bernice Lencioni; his brother, Richard Lencioni; and his daughter Lesli Thomas.

Graveside Service was held at 1:30 PM, March 12th at Sacramento Valley Veteran’s National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road, Dixon, CA 95620.

Church Service and Celebration of Life was held at 11:30 AM, March 13th at Delta Community Presbyterian Church, 1900 Willow Lake Road, Discovery Bay, CA 94505

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause that Myron cared deeply about since it ravaged his wife Bernice for over a decade.

Services

  • Graveside Service Monday, March 12, 2018
  • Church Service and Celebration of Life Tuesday, March 13, 2018
REMEMBERING

Myron Julian Lencioni

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Nicole C

March 8, 2018

I’m so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in God’s promise of a resurrection where we will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed away and will never be separated by death again - John 5:28, 29; Revelation 21:3,4

Kevin Reedy

March 7, 2018

Fitting in with the Lencioni’s

Anytime someone marries into a family, there is that awkward start to the relationship as you try to fit in. Everyone is on best behavior and sometimes a little awkward.

So when I came into the Lencioni family, Lynn had prepped me that the most important thing to do was to be able to play cards. It was the primary family activity and I’d never fit in if I couldn’t participate. So Lynn patiently taught me and I was at least somewhat prepared for the Lencioni family ritual. I had to be Myron’s partner while Lynn teamed with her mother (Lynn’s not stupid!). Of course, I was by far the worst player and made more than my share of mistakes. But in those early days Myron was gracious and offered only constructive pointers. I slowly improved and started to feel that maybe I could eventually fit in. I knew I’d been accepted into the family on the night when I played a hand particularly poorly and Mryon got up, yelled something and the cards all came flying in my direction. I was in!

Donna Johnson

March 6, 2018

One Friday nite couples golf Myron was paired with a single woman golfer. Julie Blotz and I were in the buffet line and Myron joined us. It seemed that Myron had not had a really great time with his partner. He asked us if we thought Nancy Leibensberger would play golf with him. Well we really promoted that idea, and the rest is history!

Leonard Lencioni

March 5, 2018

Myron Lencioni was a man of honor and grit. He was formed by his childhood of the Great Depression and coming of age during World War II. His greatest purpose was to care for his family and improve. He worked tirelessly for the family and community to make a difference. Myron’s life was truly one of the Greatest Generation’s. I’m glad he was my father. He will be missed, but certainly remembered as we hope to learn from his example.

Cris Williams

March 4, 2018

Not many people my age get the privledge of saying they knew their great grandparents. Luckily I was blessed to have Great Grandpa Myron in my life for the last 23 years. He always had a joke, and was never afraid to speak his mind and tell me what a man's duty was. He was a driving factor of inspiration in finishing my college degree, and starting a family of my own. I will never forget all the times you absolutely battered me at card games. You consistently left me feeling motivated to do more with my life. Thank you for the memories...

Susan and Mark Stanley

March 4, 2018

Memories from Mark and Sue Stanley (Nancy’s nephew), Mary Lou Stanley and Betty Bates (Nancy’s sisters).
One way to sum up Myron was “determined “.
Recently, when I broke one of the three locks on his sliding glass door, he spent the next two hours fixing it!!!
Over the years, when we came to visit him and Nancy, he warmly welcomed us. Although our visits were short in duration they were filled with sharing stories from his time in the service, his father’s ice cream store, and family. There was never any doubt what Myron’s opinion was . We’ll miss his wit and warm hugs. ❤️

Collette Chess

March 3, 2018

My husband and I sat next to Myron and his wife at the first Christmas party we attended at the Discovery Bay country club in 1999. We were so impressed and never forgot how loving and caring he treated her.

Gary Hess

March 1, 2018

Myron was a War Hero beyond what most of us can comprehend. He was fun to play Golf with because I always, well most of the time, took his money. We bet bit, 25 cents a hole. He loved his family and would always brag about his "Kickboxing" Grandson. Our Friday foursome is not the same and will never be the same without him to joke and play golf with. Myron, enjoy Heaven with your Creator. I will see you there sometime in the future. Gary and Lola Hess

Ken Smith

March 1, 2018

Your Dad always had a friendly and pleasant smile. He was soft spoken and always a gentleman.
I enjoyed seeing him on our Mexico trips and celebrating his Birthday.
Myron will be missed.
What a head of hair!!

Brentwood Funeral Home

February 26, 2018

Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this time.

Biography

Myron Julian Lencioni was the first-born child to Marino and Julia Lencioni of Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was born on February 16, 1925 and one year later had a younger brother, Richard. His ancestry was 100% Italian and his father immigrated to America when he was 18 years old. Myron was raised Catholic and although not a deeply devout man in his later years, his faith and religion were important to him and he said his prayers every night.

Myron was first and foremost a family man: a devoted son, a husband that provided for his family, who above everything else wanted his children to have the opportunities he didn’t. He was very frugal and not a risk taker, while being extremely focused and determined. His personality was shaped by living through the Depression and being in combat in World War II at the age of 19.

Myron remembers living in Chicago and the surrounding areas as a young boy, but the family eventually moved to Waukegan, Illinois where he spent the majority of his childhood. He lived on the West side of Waukegan, a working-class neighborhood. Myron described it as, “a good bunch of boys and girls”. He remembers playing “Tin Can Alley” and “Capture the Flag”, and ice skating in a flooded empty lot near his home. There were still parts of Waukegan that were quite rural. He would jump in haystacks that a neighbor kept to feed the mules and horses he pastured. When Myron or Richard wanted to go downtown they rode the old street cars. They would dredge up an odd dime or two by crawling under the platforms after the trains pulled out. With the ten cents they found they would go to the movies (which cost exactly 10 cents).

Myron and his brother enjoyed the annual American Legion sponsored Fourth of July carnival. Myron said, “It took the place of a vacation which few of us could afford”. “We went every day and participated in the pie and watermelon eating contests and the festivities climaxed with an awesome fireworks display”.

As far back as Myron can remember he worked side by side with his father. He remembers being awakened at 2:30 am to accompany his father to the produce market in Chicago and how they spent the day in their panel truck as they sold to grocery stores. Once they moved to Waukegan, the elder Lencioni moved into retail, operating a series of small grocery stores. Myron did everything from helping to unload the produce, to sweeping up, to waiting on customers. He was actively involved in the family businesses to help feed and clothe the family.

Myron graduated from Waukegan Township High School in June, 1943. In high school he was a member of Crossed Sabers, Military, Rifle and Science Clubs.

Myron was inducted into the army in July 1943. He landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944. After D-Day, he fought in several battles in Northern France including Hill 192 and the battle for Saint-Lo. Myron was first wounded by shrapnel after 25 days in combat. He was patched up and returned to action that very night. After 56 continuous days in battle, he received his second wound that ended his time in combat. Along the way, he was promoted to Corporal. The war ended and he was discharged from the Army on Christmas Eve, 1945. The war had a lasting impression on him. He never took his children camping (he said, “I can afford a bed”), and he never went back to Normandy even though he went to France several times. 70 years later he still had nightmares about combat. To many who knew Myron, it was an honor to know an eyewitness and participant in one of the great events in history. He was indeed a hero. He received two Bronze Star medals and two Purple Heart medals.

After the war he returned home and married Bernice Eileen Brown on August 5, 1950 at Immaculate Conception Church in Waukegan. For the next 42 years, Bernice and Myron made Waukegan their home. They raised their three children, Leonard, Lynn and Lesli there.

A lot of married couples starting a new family move away and forge a new life. However, Myron was too duty bound to his parents. Marino owned commercial property (three stores he rented out), where one of his small grocery stores originally stood. So, Marino and Myron built two small apartments above the stores. Myron and his family lived in one apartment and Marino, Julia, and Richard lived in the other. (Richard moved out in his mid-forties when he wed). Life for the new family revolved around the extended family. Myron saw his parents and brother on a daily basis and the children had grandparents right next door to stop in and visit any time they wanted as well as an uncle who was funny and always available to tease them. However, for Bernice (of Irish decent) she had her Italian in-laws telling her how to be a good wife and mother on a daily basis. It took a special person to navigate that environment for 40 years. Myron had wed well!

Myron tried his hand at a couple of jobs, such as a factory worker at Goodyear and working for the State of Illinois landscaping the highways before deciding to follow in his dad’s footsteps of owning a small business. He opened Myron’s Floral Shop. He and Bernice tried for over five years to make a go of the florist business, but margins were small and the time commitment was significant and interfered with the demands of a young family. He eventually decided to go into banking and worked for around 30 years for the National Bank of North Chicago. He started as a teller. In order to better financially provide for his family, he wanted to advance into senior management. So, he decided he needed a higher education. He went back to school and received a banking degree from Illinois Banker’s School in cooperation with Southern Illinois University in September, 1969 at the age of 44. Myron eventually worked his way up to Vice President of Operations. He retired in 1987 at the age of 62.

While working, he was an active member of the American Legion and worked his way up to president and then past president of Kiwanis: Waukegan Chapters. He forged a lot of good, lifetime friends from his time in Kiwanis. They went out socially, traveled together, and even vacationed at the summer home of one of his friends in Wisconsin, where he became a proficient lake fisherman. He had one of his prize trout catches stuffed and hung in the house for many decades.

Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter were a big deal at the Lencioni’s. Marino was quite the chef and he would cook the turkey and dressing and make the soup from scratch, but the specialty was the home made spiced meat raviolis in a meat sauce that is a specialty of the region where he grew up in Lucca, Italy.

Myron did play golf and bowl on occasion. He even had a period of time when he went and worked out at a local sports club. But four things dominated his free time:

• Playing cards of all types. He grew up playing the Italian card games (Briscola, Scopa, and Tressette), which he taught his wife and children. Bernice’s parents taught him Pinochle. Along the way he learned Hearts, Spades and Rummy. Many evening and holidays were spent playing cards and the family was very competitive. It was not unusual to see cards flying through the air when a partner made a mistake. He of course loved poker and blackjack and enjoyed the casinos in Las Vegas and Reno when a vacation gave him the opportunity to visit Nevada.
• Working on his cars. He had a passion and love for his cars; Oldsmobile 88, Oldsmobile 98, Buick Electra 225 and eventually Cadillacs. On his Oldsmobiles, he did all his own maintenance and body work, which was quite extensive back in those days given the brutal weather in Illinois and not having a garage. The most ambitious project was replacing the motor itself. He used the children’s swing set as a hoist/pulley system to get the old motor out and the new motor in.
• Family summer vacations: Every year he took pride in having a three week summer vacation; something that he never experienced with his parents as a child. He loved the sun, so most years the family took off to Daytona Beach Florida enjoying the sun and surf. The family also went to the New York’s World Fair in the mid-1960’s and went out West in 1967 and 1972 seeing all the major National Parks, Las Vegas, and visiting a Colorado dude ranch.
• Enjoying his children’s endeavors and accomplishments. Leonard was an accomplished accordionist. The family went to all his competitions, including statewide competitions in downtown Chicago. Leonard was also an outstanding swimmer. Myron took the family to all of Leonard’s high school and college meets. He was so proud that Leonard earned a substantial scholarship to swim at Northern Illinois University. Myron was proud that his children had the opportunity to go to college and both Leonard and Lynn got bachelor and master degrees.

In 1992, after a lifetime of living in Waukegan, he and Bernice decided to escape the cold winters of the Mid-west and move to Discovery Bay in California, not far from their daughter Lynn and her husband. The house was located in a golf club community and their backyard overlooked the 16th fairway and green. It was a long-term dream to own a house and live on a golf course.

Lynn was excited to spend time with her mom and dad. Bernice had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and time was precious. Not only did Lynn and Kevin spend many weekends at their house enjoying their company, playing cards and playing golf, but they went on many trips together including:
• Traveling to Italy and seeing all the major sites of the country including the Tuscany region where Myron’s father grew up.
• Traveling to Australia and New Zealand: snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and hiking on Fox Glacier.

In Discovery Bay, Myron became an active member of the Senior Men’s Club and SIRs for the past 25 years. Myron had the opportunity and time to enjoy many pastimes that had taken a back seat while raising a family, such as:

• Enjoying skiing – He took up skiing in his early sixties and by the time he was 68 he was skiing advanced “black” runs such as Siberia Bowl at Squaw Valley.
• Learning bridge and playing in tournaments. Bridge was just the latest card game that Myron enjoyed.
• Perfecting Golf. Myron finally had the time and opportunity to play enough golf to get better and win several Discovery Bay Men’s Golf Tournaments. He also got a hole in one on the par 3, hole number 2 at Discovery Bay Country Club on August 14, 1998


Myron was a loving husband to Bernice until her death on February 22, 1997. As her Alzheimer’s progressed he became her primary care giver especially the last two to three years of her life. He never ever talked about putting her in a memory care facility or hiring care givers, he felt he owed his wife of 44 years only the best of care and daily love that he could provide. Upon his death, locked in a safe in his house was a note he wrote about her illness. The reason for the note is not known, but the love he had for his wife is well evidenced. Myron wrote, “My wife has a memory problem. Her father and brother died from the result of Alzheimer’s disease. She needs me. She has memory loss, inability to learn new information, misplaces objects, becomes confused and gets lost. This is stressful to me, but a far greater hardship for her if I wasn’t available to her”.

Bernice’s death in early 1997, after 46 years of marriage, culminated a devastating two years for Myron. Not only had he been the primary and only care giver for his wife, but during that brief span of time, he lost his youngest child, Lesli, on December 22, 1994; his father, Marino, two months later on February 23, 1995; and his brother, Richard, eleven months after that on January 18, 1996. (He had lost his mother, Julia fifteen years prior, on May 25, 1980). Myron found the inner strength to move on. He found love a second time to Nancy Lee Dennis Liebensberger and they married on May 9, 1998.

For the next twenty years Myron had two main focuses:
• Enjoying his time with Nancy and his Discovery Bay friends.
o Nancy was an outstanding athlete. Her bowling average was in the high 150’s, she had many games over 200. She golfed in the 80’s and was an outstanding bridge player. He had the perfect companion for his later years.
o She took care of the home, cooked, and made sure he went to his doctor appointments.
o They took many Discovery Bay Country Club golf trips to Mexico.
o They enjoyed cruising, going on countless cruises to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, South America, and Europe.
• Enjoying time with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
o He got to see both his grandchildren Elaine and Mike graduate from high school and college.
o He got to see Mike marry his high school sweetheart, Erin on June 14, 2008
o He got to attend Elaine and Hal’s wedding on October 5, 2013.
o He lived to see the births of his great grandchildren Carissa, Zachary, and Aria born to Mike and Erin and Owen born to Elaine and Hal.
o He lived to see his great grandson Cris graduate from high school and college and his great granddaughter, Karra graduate from high school.
o Lynn and Leonard got to attend Myron’s milestone 80th and 90th birthdays.

Tragedy was to hit Myron again in August, 2017. Nancy, 12 years his junior and the pillar of good health was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. Despite emergency brain surgery and ten rounds of full brain radiation, her prognosis was grim, 3 to 6 months. She was too weak to continue to receive chemotherapy. Myron set into action the way he had for the past 90 years, taking charge. However, at 92 he himself was too frail. His daughter, Lynn and son-in-law came to live with them and take over care-giving chores and eventually hire professional care givers to help. In general, Myron was inconsolable and distraught. He had never anticipated life beyond Nancy. His own health was deteriorating, due to age, stress and depression. Lynn did eventually convince Myron to get the medical help he needed to get healthy and had started down that path with early positive indications. However, those plans were thwarted when on Thursday, February 8th he fell backyards down 8 stairs breaking 6 bones (jaw, collar bone, two arm bones, and two bones in his pelvis) and requiring stitches in his head, left arm and left lower leg. Despite the severity of his fall the Critical Care Unit at Stanford’s Valley Medical in Pleasanton, CA got him stable and after a week in the hospital transferred Myron to Creekview Skilled Nursing in Pleasanton for his rehab. He was making progress, standing and walking with assistance on the parallel bars. He celebrated his 93rd birthday at Creekview on February 16th and on Friday, February 23rd, Nancy was transferred there as well. They spent five hours together with Nancy holding his hand. The following day, he was visited by Lynn and Kevin in the early afternoon and occupational therapy was having him do standing exercises, but at 5:40 that evening he became unresponsive. Despite the best efforts of the EMT’s and emergency room, his heart had simply given out. He died in the evening of February 24, 2018.

Graveside Services were held at Sacramento Valley Veteran’s National Cemetery in Dixon, CA where he received an honor’s burial. Bernice’s urn was buried inside his coffin. His Church Service and Celebration of Life was held at Delta Community Presbyterian Church in Discovery Bay, CA.

In lieu of flowers, Myron asked that a donation be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause he cared deeply about since it ravaged his wife, Bernice.

Tucked inside his wallet on a paper well-worn with his daughter’s address and phone number (scratched out with updated information) and his son’s address and phone number (also scratched out with updated information) was a saying, “You never walk along for in your sorrow and despair God always walks with you”. May Myron find everlasting peace and love.




Detail Account of Myron’s World War II Experience
(July 12, 1943 – December 24, 1945)

Myron was drafted and then inducted into the Army on July 12, 1943. He did his training in Texas and was assigned to the Second Division. In October, the division arrived in Northern Ireland to begin intensive training for the invasion of Europe. Six months later, in April of 1944, the Division moved across the Irish Sea to South Wales for final staging for the invasion. Myron’s Second Division was scheduled to go ashore in Normandy on the day after D-Day. Not too bad. But Myron was not so lucky. A decision had been made to form a Special Engineering Task Force of combat engineers and the best combat infantrymen. They were to join the leading edge of the first wave on D-Day itself. Myron was selected to be part of this group. Their job was to clear obstacles on the beach and make way for the following waves of troops.

Myron only told the full detailed story of D-Day itself once. It was several years before the movie “Saving Private Ryan” came out. Myron’s story exactly parallels the first 30 minutes of that movie.

His landing craft was scheduled to land within the first three minutes of the invasion on Omaha Beach. This was by far the most deadly beach of the invasion. The American B-17 bombers and Navy gunners had missed their targets and the German defenses were virtually untouched. The full capabilities of the German defenses were waiting for Myron and his compatriots.

Myron’s landing craft dropped its front gate too soon and the water was deep. His first task was to push forward into shallower water to avoid drowning. More than a few of his buddies did not avoid that fate. Then as they pushed forward, a lot of guys were trying to crouch and take cover behind the steel beach obstacles that littered the water. But many of them were still getting hit. It was a bloodbath and Myron realized (just like the Tom Hanks character in the movie) that this was a poor strategy. Anyone staying out there was almost inevitably going to get hit. So Myron did the only thing possible, which was to head for the beach. Miraculously, he was not hit. He ran across a couple hundred yards of beach while under fire and finally made it to the comparative safety of the base of the cliffs above the beach. He felt safe there because the Germans above could not lean over to shoot down without exposing themselves to heavy fire. He said that at that point, and for the only time in the war, he totally lost control of himself to fear. For ten minutes he was shaking out of control. He was completely useless. But then he pulled himself together and joined other men to continue the fight. It was his job.

The only way off that horrific beach was up the cliffs. The roads leading down from the French towns to the beaches were heavily defended and would be a massacre. So they had to climb the cliffs and take out the pillboxes. Myron was in a heavy weapons unit, so they had Bangalore torpedoes to do the job. Essentially, this is a pipe bomb where additional sections of pipe could be added to push the explosive front end of the torpedo forward towards or into the pillbox. Then they’d detonate it. He had to do all this while under constant fire, with guys being hit all around him and do it while climbing up a cliff using a rope and grappling hook. It was unimaginably difficult and frightening. Myron said it was the job and you did it or you died. “What choice did you have?”. Once on top of the cliffs, he and others then attacked the other German fortifications from behind; where they were more vulnerable. In every history of Omaha beach, the men that climbed those cliffs and circled back to take out the German defenders were the heroes that saved the invasion. Myron was one of those men. But he never bragged or boasted or acknowledged heroics. To him, he really was just doing his job. But about half the men in his squad were killed or badly wounded that day.

After the first few days ashore, he was able to link up with rest of the Second Division once they came ashore. He was a private in Company M of the 3rd Battalion of the 38th Infantry Regiment. Now that they were off the beach, the tough fighting in the hedgerows of the French countryside began. The hedgerows were formed from hundreds of years of farmers clearing their fields and pushing the debris to the edges. Over time, these piles of rock and debris became piled up to 15 feet high and then overgrown with thick tangles of bushes and hedges. So you had clear fields maybe 50 yards long surrounded by these hedgerows. The hedgerows provided great defensive cover for the Germans but were a nightmare for Myron and the troops advancing one little field at a time while under heavy fire. Conditions were miserable with rain and mud and constant attacks and counter-attacks. There were heavy casualties. Myron told of one horrible incident where there was a ten foot gap in a hedgerow that they had to run across. The Germans knew this and were firing into the gap. All you could do was run fast and pray. Myron made it, but his best friend came in right behind him and was hit and died in Myron’s arms.

After 25 days in combat, Myron was hit in the butt and legs with shrapnel and got his first Purple Heart. He was patched up at an aid station and back on the line that night. The Division then began a momentous battle up Hill 192 outside of the town of St. Lo. This was strategic high ground that the Germans were using to spot and shell Americans for miles around. It had to be taken. The battle raged back and forth for almost two weeks, but the Americans finally prevailed. Lynn and Kevin went to Normandy and incredibly the Michelin map showed the hill and they found it. The hedgerows are all still there and there is an interpretive sign on the road depicting the battle just outside of the town of St. Germaine d’Elle. There is a monument in town thanking the American troops of the Second Division for liberating them from the Nazi’s.

A couple of weeks later Myron was fighting in the hedgerows near the town of St. Jean de Baisants. His squad was a heavy weapons unit, so they had machine guns. The guy firing that weapon was the primary target of all the Germans in the area. To assign one man would be a death sentence. So they took turns. On this day, Myron was on the gun. As he was firing, the barrel eventually overheated and jammed. He leaned over to hit the lever to change the barrel. At that moment, a bullet hit him in the shoulder. A German sniper had clearly zeroed in on his head. Miraculously, the gun jammed and saved him the fatal hit. He didn’t talk about the pain. He just remembers being so happy. He had the million dollar wound. It was bad enough to get him out of combat, but not kill him.

In total, Myron spent 56 consecutive days in combat and earned two Purple Hearts and Two Bronze Stars. By the end of this time, there was only one other guy in his unit that was with him on D-Day. All the rest were killed or wounded.

Myron went to England for surgery and recovery. After getting out of the hospital, his shoulder was not sufficiently healed to go back into combat, so he was assigned garrison duty in Carteret, France on the Atlantic coast. He was quartered with a French family and became friends with them. Along the way, he was promoted to Corporal. He never went back into combat. The war ended and he was discharged from the Army on Christmas Eve 1945. He never went camping outside and he never went back to Normandy. 70 years later he still had nightmares about combat. To many who knew Myron, it was an honor to know an eyewitness and participant in one of the great events in history. He was indeed a hero.



MEMORIES FROM LYNN



One bathroom


My dad, mother, brother, sister and I lived in a small apartment-like house which had two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and most importantly only one bathroom. And a very small bathroom at that. It barely fit a medicine cabinet, toilet, sink, and bathtub.

From the time we went to kindergarten until the time we graduated high school, everyone had to use the bathroom in the same one hour period in the morning. The three children were getting ready for school and dad was getting ready for work. The children learned quickly that it was dad’s bathroom. We were allowed to use the toilet for about 2 to 5 minutes and that was it: bathing was done the night before; brushing your teeth was done in the kitchen sink; and combing your hair was done in the living room which had a mirror. Dad would not “have” his daughters styling their hair, dying their hair, or wearing make-up. Just the bare essentials were allowed. Also, as you can image between sharing a bedroom with your brother and sister and performing many of your bathroom tasks in the open spaces of the house there was little privacy.

So, what took dad the better part of an hour to do every morning? He was a man who had a routine and that routine could not be altered. First for him there was his daily constitutional (15 minutes); washing his face and shaving (10 minutes); and then the most important part of the morning, combing and styling his hair (20 minutes). And there you have it, 45 minutes of the hour were gone, which left 5 minutes each for the 3 children to use the toilet. Poor mom had to wait to use the bathroom until we all left for the day.

Is there a positive to this story? YES.. Camping and backpacking are not a problem for me. And I still don’t style my hair or use make-up. So, I computed how much time I’ve saved from the age of 10 to 62 allowing me to do other more important tasks. Here is the math: 52 years, 365 days a year, 30 minutes a day is approximately 10,000 hours which is approximately 400 days. I have amassed over a year of my life. So, in 62 years I have accomplished 63 years of living.

Thanks Dad, for the extra year!




Whose House Is It?


Dad retired at age 62 in 1987, but didn’t decide to move to California until five years later in 1992. In those interim years, he and mom would come and visit us. The first year it was two weeks, the next year is was four weeks, by the fifth year it was three months.

I loved having mom and dad visit. Spending quality time with them was awesome. We played cards, went to movies, went out to dinner, and went to local attractions.

Kevin and I had just bought our first home, a three bedroom townhouse. There were little projects that needed to be done and dad was handy. The two car garage needed to be sheet rocked. No problem. He not only put up the sheet rock, but taped and sanded and painted it to a level of perfection that was far better than in our house. He also maintained the cars and the landscaping. Mom and dad cleaned the house. What could be better. Kevin and I were in heaven.

As the years progressed and the length of the stays increased we started to see some cracks in the silver lining. One time in the third year, Kevin came home from work, was reading the newspaper and laying the sections of the paper on the rug next to his recliner. Dad immediately swooped in and picked up the newspaper sections asking Kevin what did he think he was doing? He had just spent the day straightening up and cleaning. I thought it was hilarious and teased Kevin mercilessly.

Well, payback came the following and last year. We were well into the third month of their stay and I came home and needed to pay bills. I kept all the bills on a corner of the kitchen counter. The bills weren’t there! I panicked and then asked dad if he knew where the bills were. He said, “Where they should be!”. I had to ask him just exactly where in my house that might be.

Clearly as the years went by the house was becoming more his house. And dad is very organized, and wants things his way, and is fairly set in his ways. We had created a monster and it was clearly our fault.

So it was going to be my job the next year to tell dad, he and mom couldn’t stay with us for 3+ months. A couple weeks were fine, but not more than that. I was panicked and not sure how to broach the subject. Well, when it came time for dad to schedule their next trip to California he informed me that mom and he decided they were going to buy a house and move to California.

I was soooooooo relieved!




MEMORIES FROM LEONARD



Scoop the Loop


Post WWII America fell in love with their cars. Affordable wheels and cheap gas gave everybody mobility. Driving became an urban pastime. Dad was no different. His first car was a 1950 Olds Dynamic 88. Not a remarkable car, but utilitarian. Dad’s preference for Oldsmobiles probably came from the fact that his father-in-law, Ed Brown, owned a dealership in Highland Park. How can you not buy a car from your father-in-law? Such a deal.

Traditionally, the Sunday drive pastime is thought of as a leisurely outing along country roads. Well, we adapted it to the Waukegan cityscape, each turn and street taken to tell our family’s story. My recollection has Lynn and me in the backseat, with Dad and Mom up front. We would head east on Washington towards the bright lights of downtown Waukegan. In 5 blocks we’d go past West School, where the Lencioni kids finished K-6. A block after that was the Waukegan Baby Seat Company, where Lynn got her first job selling baby potty chairs. Another block east was the Waukegan High where Myron, Bernice, Leonard, Lynn and Lesli all graduated at different times together. A little further east and we would pass Stefani’s, famous for teaching children to play accordion and electric organ (ourselves included).

As we neared downtown, we would turn north (left) on County Street. It was nondescript but necessary to take in order to position us for our grand parade down Genesee. However, to reach Genesee, we would turn right on Julian Street. Everybody knew that Julian was Dad’s middle name. Additionally, that block was occupied by the Waukegan U.S. Post Office where Grandpa Lencioni and Uncle Richard worked. 1950’s Genesee Street was to Lake County and Waukegan as Michigan Avenue is to Chicago. Glitz, glamour, commerce, people. Heading south, we would pass the Academy Theater and directly across, the Genesee Theater, which had hosted two world premiere movies starring Benjamin Kubelsky from Waukegan. A little further down, were the Globe and Heinz department stores (the height of fashion). Plus, they also had real plants as decoration, which were supplied and cared for by Myron’s Floral Shop. Sometimes Dad would take me with him on Saturday mornings before the stores opened to water them. At the corner of Washington (that one again) and Genesee sat the First National Bank. Bernice Brown was a teller at that bank in 1945 when Myron came back from the war looking for a job. She knew him from the neighbor and put in a good word. He got hired – things started to happen.

Going south on Genesee Street we could actually see Lake Michigan to our left now that the tall downtown buildings started to taper off. Our drive curved gently east at Belvidere Road until we merged into and became Sheridan Road. This stretch along the lake was occupied by many of the booming industries of the 40’s and 50’s. Outboard Marine, Johns Manville, Fansteel, and the Dexter-Midland Industrial Coatings Company to name a few. As we rolled across the Waukegan/North Chicago city limits, the fragrance in the air told us that we were in Abbott Laboratory territory prompting us to roll up our windows quickly. Vy-Dalin vitamins syrup was a flagship product of Abbott back then and we were so excited to see and smell where it was produced it made us want to throw up. I don’t think they make it any more. As we cruised further into North Chicago, we would pass the National Bank of North Chicago (an omen of things to come). At the southernmost point on our outing, lining Sheridan Road, was a brightly lit strip of bars, trinkets, sundries and amusement novelty shops that serviced the Great Lakes Naval Training base. Recruits in their whites milling around made it seem like a carnival. We turned west (right) on 22nd Street for the uneventful drive home. Dad was able to find a little fun when we crossed the tracks of the North Shore commuter train. As we approached the elevated grade he would speed up and launch us into the air as if we were on a roller coaster. When we finally slowed down we were at Lewis Avenue and turned right heading back home. Along the way we would pass Thomas Jefferson Junior High, which us kids attended and Belvidere Park where we spent our teen summers at the Ganster Pool. Approaching home, we’d turn right on Melrose and a quick left on Elmwood. This took us past Grandma and Grandpa Brown’s old house sitting right next to Aunt Lucille’s (cousin Nancy) house. Then one block home.

I have no recollection how many miles this was or how long it took – it was always magical.




Washington Street


Waukegan from 1948 to 1965 was like most large cities, pre-shopping mall era. Its downtown area was the center of commerce and the bigger streets leading out to the neighborhoods also had pockets of business catering directly to the neighborhoods. Washington Street, where we lived, was one such street. It stretched from the west side all the way to Lake Michigan ending at the Northwestern train station which linked Milwaukee and Chicago.

In 1951, our corner on Washington and Fulton was four parcels of commercial property owned by my Grandfather. His original produce market still standing but shuttered which he lived behind. The other businesses that rented space included a drug store, a TV repair shop and Myron’s Floral Shop. Dad, mom and I lived in a single room area behind the store. Our quarter included sleeping, living and kitchen with a water closet. I guess you could call it an open floor plan in today’s housing market.

Being business property, our yard was a gravel parking lot. I never had to mow the lawn but got pretty good at raking stones and gathering litter. In a little corner behind the flower shop, dad set up a swing set (two swings, teeter-totter, ladder), stand alone slide and sand box. It seemed like all our friends would come over to play because all they had was grass in their yard.

Lynn’s birth in 1955, didn’t impact our space immediately, but with us getting bigger and Lesli’s impending birth it was decided to move up (stairs that is). Grandpa had two apartments built above the store and convinced Dad to stay. What a palace! Two separate bedrooms (one for parents and one for siblings), a bathroom complete with tub (a new convenience). Once again, an open floor plan encompassing a spacious kitchen (large enough to accommodate refrigerator, stove, washer and drier) and living room. This was our home until we moved on into our adult lives.

Finally in 1992, Dad and Mom embraced California as the promised land of the American dream and found a lovely community in Discovery Bay. Grandpa was invited/begged to move west with them. He declined saying he would hold down the little fort in Waukegan. That he did until 1995. With his passing, the Lencioni family outpost he established a half century earlier became our fond memory.




The Daytona Run


Dad’s second car, you guessed it, a 1959 Olds Super 88. Detroit was on steroids. This car was 18 feet long and 7 feet wide. It’s a good thing we didn’t have a garage. But I believe what made this car stand out was the Safety Spectrum Speedometer. It didn’t have a needle or a gauge. MPH was measured by a solid colored line going from green (zero-30), turning orange at 35 mph and changing to red at 65 reaching the end at 120 mind blowing mph.

This car was made to carry a family of five anywhere in the continental U.S. Dad made it a virtual pilgrimage to Daytona Beach, Florida every summer from 1960-1972. Maybe a couple of other side trips thrown in. These were the pre-Interstate days and we would wind our way down the single lane highways of rural Illinois (HWY 1), finally connecting to the mighty HWY 41 in Kentucky which would take us all the way to Florida. It took two solid days of driving to make it and he would push hard the first day. The only time we would stop was to fill up the tank. Lynn and I would hand out picnic lunch sandwiches while Dad drove. Also fill cups of water from the large picnic size drink cooler. Don’t drink too much, we’re not stopping until we need gas. We usually made it to northern Georgia before taking a motel.

Early morning the second day south of Atlanta was highly anticipated. We wanted to get to Daytona as soon as possible. We knew the rural area was going to be lightly traveled and we could see for miles ahead. With the windows down, Dad would start to accelerate green quickly turning to orange, moving steadily towards the red. The wind was whistling through the car and Lynn would start chanting faster, faster. The 88 responded and when that 2 foot long speedometer was fire engine red and buried at the 120 mark, we were whooping and hollerin’ like the Dukes of Waukegan. How many miles? how many minutes? nobody knew but it felt like forever. Eventually, another car would show on the horizon and we had to slow, but would we have another chance? As the morning got longer the traffic increased and we knew we’d have to wait for next year.




Phoenix Rising


Inexplicably, sometime in 1967, Dad’s 59 Olds 88 crapped out. Kaput, DOA, just wouldn’t start and every indication was some major engine damage, whatever. He needed a ride immediately and didn’t have the time to fix the 88, so he went out and bought a new Buick Electra 225. Wait a minute, not an Oldsmobile? Well, the Buick was the really hot car of the year and it’s a GM, so OK.

But the 88 sat in the back yard. Dad decided he would get it fixed and he was going to do it. Myron had been an automotive tinkerer for years and this would be his crowning achievement. So he set about dismantling the engine in the back yard. As he had done for many years, he just slid a piece of plywood under the front end using the pea gravel as ball bearings and proceeded to unscrew, unbolt, remove hoses, rods and any belts that seemed to attach the engine block to the rest of the body mounts, transmission, radiator, exhaust, etc. Hours, weeks stretched into months and the weather got cold. He had plenty of support from his brother-in-law, Harold Brown. Uncle Harold had worked for his father at the Oldsmobile dealership and knew about Oldsmobiles. He was very generous with his advice. There were numerous sessions when Dad would beat on a single bolt for hours, emerging with only bleeding knuckles. At these times, he learned that he could turn to the friendly neighborhood Phillips 66 gas station/garage owner Ralph Wagner for mechanical advice. The station was just across the street and Ralph would saunter over and see what Dad was trying to do. Then he would come back with some tool and Dad would have the piece disconnected in a matter of seconds. Amazing what the right tool can accomplish. Eventually, it was determined that everything had been disconnected and the engine could be “easily” removed.

How does one lift an engine block in the back yard? Obviously, relocate the children’s old swing set over the hood, get a chain and some block and tackle from brother, Richard’s barn and start hoisting away. It was working beautifully, until the set started to buckle in the middle. After the situation stabilized and a few more hoists the engine was able to barely clear the car. A number of willing hands pushed the car back and we lowered the engine block on to our faithful little red American Flyer wagon. Talk about Made In America. The wagon groaned a bit, but held steady.
We then pushed and pulled the wagon through the alley three blocks to the local F&M AutoBody Parts store. Apparently, they repaired and refurbished the engine. I recall them returning the engine with their truck and using an automotive hoist to lower the block into the engine compartment. Very professional. Connecting everything went like a piece of cake.

On an early Spring day, Dad announced it was time! Emissaries arrived from around the world (not). But all who had been involved were on hand for the moment. He turned the key………..a couple of sputters and the mighty 88 fired up. Even though timing, transmission, brakes had not been finalized, we piled into the car and drove slowly and carefully around the block.
Mission successful. Myron had pulled off the automotive miracle of the century. Much champagne and merriment ensued. The swing set didn’t fare as well and was never seen again.

The 88 continued to be our most beloved car. It was the first, second car of the family that everyone used except Myron. I used it during the summers to work as a lifeguard at the pool, scoop the loop on Friday nights with high school friends and even pick up Pam for a few dates in 1972. I think Lynn even drove it around at U of I for a short time in 1973 (it made her very popular with the computer science crowd). I lost touch, but still look for it on E Bay.