Leonard M Vogt Jr.
December 9, 1948 – September 19, 2020
Leonard M Vogt, Jr., 71 of Wildwood, IL passed away at 11:44 a.m. on the 19th of September, 2020 at Holy Cross Medical Center in Des Plaines, IL. Born December 9, 1948 in Detroit to Monecia and Leonard Sr., he was the younger brother of Marlene and the late Marilyn, both of Michigan who lovingly referred to him as “Little Lord” due to the attention that he garnered from an early age. Len met the love of his life and wife of 51 years, Carolyn, while they both attended Eastern Michigan University. They were married in 1969 before he completed his Bachelor’s degree with honors in 1971. Their family began with the addition of Brian (1971), followed by Kristi (1973), and eventually Jason (1983). His family was by far the greatest asset Len possessed in his lifetime as he was not just a supportive husband and father but excelled as an amazing grandfather to Josh, Makayla, Katy, Dustin, Kory, and Benjamin whose presence brought on a youthful resurgence in his later years. After hearing about his passing, a family member stated, “… Lenny was a force of nature.” Those which had the pleasure of knowing him would surely agree.
Throughout the first 35 years of his career Len held several progressive positions with the retailer Montgomery Ward where he established himself as an automotive repair industry executive prior to starting his own business in 1998. LEN’s COmpany, LENCO, was formed with the idea of representing a handful of niche automotive equipment manufacturers to compete with the marketing strength of larger manufacturers. This venture in his career proved successful and became a passion in his life by not only being a means of supporting his family but whereby he had the pleasure of working with friends and colleagues until the end. The freedom of being self-employed provided Len the ability to give back to the industry that he loved by donating time to the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA/MAP), where he led numerous technical committees and had the pleasure of serving on the organizations Board of Directors appointed as the Secretary/Treasurer.
For those of you especially close with Len, or even anyone who’s spent more than a half hour conversing with him, you surely would appreciate some additional background and stories of interest from Len’s past. We could have gotten to the points sooner, but that would not have been fitting for a “Len Story” as a lengthy recounting of details was always provided to establish the context.
Len grew up in the western suburbs of Detroit where his father worked for Chrysler as a superintendent for their specialty vehicle production lines. This exposure to automotive technology from a young age along with the numerous special limited production and test vehicles that his father would test drive with him left it as no surprise that he found the automotive repair industry so interesting resulting in a lifelong career.
Len spent a considerable amount of his youth at his paternal grandfather’s farm outside of West Branch, MI during weekends and summers where he became an avid outdoorsman. He later shared this passion with those around him, including passing on these traditions and knowledge to friends and future generations. Len was even successful at turning a few golfers into some of the best Hunters that he’s ever known, unfortunately they couldn’t return the favor and Len’s success was best demonstrated with a rod or rifle as his clubs gathered dust at home.
In 1959, at the age of 11, Len met Mike Illitch who was opening a small pizza shop in the strip mall across the street from his childhood home. Mike offered to let Len deliver pizzas around the local area for tips that he would receive from deliveries. Always a negotiator, Len agreed with the condition that if he did not get a tip Mike would pay him 50¢ per delivery. He delivered pizza by bicycle for “Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat” in Garden City, MI. In retrospect, Len might not have been the best negotiator at this young age, although his best tip was $5, admittedly from a gentleman who might have drank a bit too much before the pizza arrived. Comparably, that little pizza shop developed into the third largest pizza chain in the U.S. and an international firm.
This was not the only irony that Len faced as a child. In grade school he managed to break his left arm on three separate occasions but was fortunate when he learned later in life that the last mending of the bones was a bit sub-optimal. This came to be a blessing in disguise as he was selected for the draft and failed to pass his medical evaluation after the physician identified an issue limiting the range of motion in his left wrist. On this occasion he wisely chose not to debate his fitness to fire a rifle due to the limits of how his left hand gripped the forearm of the rifle incorrectly. This was especially fitting as he participated in the Junior Marksman Program for much of his youth and had fared quite well on his Universities ROTC Competition Marksmanship Team.
Please share additional stories from your experiences with Len to honor his passing as we await the appropriate time to honor him with a memorial event.
Pending Service Information
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Leonard M Vogt Jr.
September 26, 2020
My Dearest Brother Len,
It's hard for me to comprehend that you passed away-- the last of my immediate family You have always been a very special brother and friend to me and an integral part of my life. We have shared so many cherished memories together-- most happy, but we've also had our share of rough times and sadness too. You have always been there for me-- supportive, helpful, caring and generous. Your loving ways have always inspired me to do my best.
I could write a book about my memories of your childhood and adult life, but I think I will jot them down and send them to your kids, as I'm sure that they would love to read them.
Len, you were always supportive, giving, helpful and generous to Mom, Dad, Marno and me. You have been our rock.
I have read what others have written about you and couldn't agree more. As our beloved mother, Monecia would always say, "you were one in a million." I will cherish my memories of you and love you always.
Mar (& Jimbo too)
September 26, 2020
I first meet Len when I was in high school when Carol first started to date him. I was not very nice to them at the time. I was forced to go to their wedding by my parents or I could not go to my prom, so I went. I was such a bitch.
Over time and the births of their children things got a lot better. Len was always there at Wards to fix the cheap cars I had at that time, and tell me to add oil to my car, etc. One time he sent me home with a fire extinguisher and said drive safely. He worked in Novi and I was in Detroit at least an hour away, so believe me that I drove safely and got rid of the car soon after.
Len liked to tease me about my burnt toast, telling me it was poison. He loved to tease me as I was easy to fool.
Len was a wonderful husband to my sister, but I sure he teased her too. I ask him once about her cooking and what would he say if he didn't like something she made. He said he told her "not bad, just don't make it again." That was Len not wanting to make things worse.
Len will be missed and remembered with lots of love forever.
September 25, 2020
I am so sorry and sad to hear of your passing, I want to thank you for your help with the midtronics equipment over the years.
I feel so sorry for Aunt Carol, Brian, Kris, and Jason and the rest of their crews, As I know what you meant to them, and will be greatly missed.
Your eulogy for grandma was something I won’t forget soon, and touched me.
When mom was sick you and your family stepped up and came out here to help us all and that really made a difference.
Thank You for being You!
Scott, Jill, and the rest of the Phillips family
September 25, 2020
I am sorry to hear of Len's passing. As with many people, I met Len in the automotive aftermarket and we quickly became personal friends. I served on the AMRA board with Len and Len w
as also actively involved in the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation - AACF. Len and Carol not only supported the AACF financially, they also gave up their personal time. For many years, prior to AAPEX / SEMA, Len and Carol would show up early Saturday morning at the Las Vegas Country Club to help us prepare for the AACF Bob Schoeberl Memorial Golf Tournament. You could always count on Len and he was my friend. I will miss him dearly - Lynn Parker
September 24, 2020
I am truly saddened and sorry to hear of Len's passing. Please except my condolences; my thoughts and prayers go out to the Vogt family during these difficult times. I knew Len for 40 years , we met and worked together at Montgomery Ward in Chicago and stayed in touch over the years, some business but always found time for a little fun. I always enjoyed my time with Len he was a good soul and friend. He loved his work, showed his passion in the way he when about his business, a tremendous wealth of knowledge that he was willing to share and help as needed. May he rest in piece.
September 24, 2020
Not sure where to start. Len and I have been friends for over 30 years, We have worked together Shoulder to Shoulder and as you know, Nose to Nose.
I will miss my friend and the "Mikey" I heard every time we were together. I will Miss that.
You will be missed by all who ever crossed your path.
I'm Proud and Honored to have known him.
September 24, 2020
Uncle Len was just a force of nature in this world. Many of my best childhood memories include him and his awesome sense of humor. When I think of Uncle Len, I remember camping trips, getting lost on Bruce Trail, trips in the old orange camper to look for deer (but really to get ice cream) and very bumpy post-Soccer trips to Amantea's for pizza. To me, he exemplified "fun."
He called me "Racy Stacey." Hahaha It always made me smile.
He was a very generous person who loved to reminisce about old times and to talk about his grandchildren, of whom he was exceptionally proud.
I will miss him dearly.
September 24, 2020
In 1988, when I was first transferred by Montgomery Wards to Chicago I meet Len in our corporate office. I was very young and Len always took the time to mentor and assist me. He was never too busy to answer a question or help me. I learned a lot from Len during my time at Wards and stayed in touch through other companies I worked with.
Len was a great man and a good friend. He will be missed.
September 24, 2020
On behalf of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA) and its Board of Directors, we would like to extend our Deepest Sympathy to the family of Leonard (Len) Vogt, one of the Co-Founders of the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP).
Len was a key contributor to the development of the UICS and was elected on the Board for Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA). In November of 2009, Len was elected to serve as Secretary/Treasurer. Len brought a tremendous amount of automotive knowledge due to his long career in the aftermarket industry and was never shy in sharing. Len spent countless hours with the AMRA staff and has been instrumental in the success of AMRA/MAP and where we are today. To many of us he was more than just a Board Member he was a colleague and good friend and a great story teller. Whether it was a Technical Conference or any other industry event, you could always see Len smiling and sharing stories. Len will be deeply missed by everyone whose lives he touched, leaving behind many fond memories for all us. His positive outlook on life was most admirable, and a contagious laugh that would brighten anyone’s day.
Rest in Peace Len, you will be sorely missed.
September 23, 2020
The Midtronics team wishes to express their condolences to the family of Len Vogt on his passing.
Len had a long, successful career in the automotive aftermarket and made a lasting impact on Midtronics. Beginning with Montgomery Ward in the early 1990’s, Len was an important customer for Midtronics. He was always passionate and driven to make the solution better for the technician and his drive pushed us to get better. Later, Len became part of the Midtronics team as a sales representative through his company LENCO. He was one of the early cheerleaders for conductance testing technology. Len believed and exemplified the core values we hold onto at Midtronics and that relationship continued all the way to the end.
Len was an advocate for the aftermarket and the consumer. He was instrumental in helping to grow the Aftermarket Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) organization and was a co-founder to their consumer focused entity, Motorist Assurance Program (MAP). He was held in high regard by many across the industry.
We shared many good times along the journey and will miss his presence in the future.
Goodbye to a good friend and colleague.