July 26, 1957 – January 7, 2021
Kristen Lentz, 63, of Norfolk, VA passed away peacefully at her home on January 7th after a valiant fight against recurrent cancer. She was surrounded by the love of her family.
Her family wants to thank her many friends and coworkers who continued to stop by and see her throughout the last months of her illness, especially longtime friends Debbie Bianchi and Linda Smith. Their visits brought incredible joy and truly remarkable energy to Kristen. Kristen is survived by her husband of 28 years, Monroe Lentz, who remained incredibly devoted to her until her passing, and her daughter, MaryLiz Lentz, who completed her first semester of graduate school in Speech and Language Pathology several weeks before Kristen passed away.
Kristen is also survived by her father, Joseph Murphy of the Villages, FL; three sisters, Jennifer Fowler (John), Patrice Wood (Fred), and Marina Murphy (Anneliese Thomson); five nieces and nephews who adored her, Elliott Fowler, Lauren Murphy, Cameron Fowler, Katherine Wood, and Michael Wood.
Kristen was born in Jacksonville, FL on July 26, 1957 to Marcella (Mary Jo) and Joe Murphy. She was the oldest in a family of four daughters, a role she loved and at which she excelled. Kristen graduated from ODU in 1979, first in her engineering class, and she was the first female civil engineering graduate of the program. She later served on the Advisory Council of the ODU Engineering School. Although Kristen was not an avid sports fan throughout most of her life, in the last decade she loved attending all of ODU’s home football and men’s basketball games and was a truly devoted fan – she enthusiastically stood and performed the ice cream and cake dance at ODU games, much to the embarrassment of her daughter.
Kristen met Monroe at the City of Norfolk and they married 1994. In 1997 their daughter, MaryLiz, completed their family and became the center of their lives.
Kristen’s career began at Baldwin and Gregg, an engineering consulting firm. She quickly realized working at a desk all day was not for her. With the help of her employer, she was hired as the City Engineer for Poquoson, VA. She loved the fact that her work in this job included going out in the field and getting her hands and feet dirty and helping residents who had issues. In 1992 she accepted the position of Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Norfolk, a job she held for 9 years. She spent the next 19 years as Norfolk’s Director of Utilities. She loved her job and openly shared her pride in the city of Norfolk and in her role of providing high quality water at a low cost for its resident every day - even during Hurricane Isabel when every other major water utility in the state had to issue boil notices.
Kristen’s passions beyond her work and daughter included: traveling, politics, and gardening. She truly treasured her book club and dinner club friends. Kristen’s drive and tenacity to get things done meant that you NEVER found her “doing nothing”. This amazed and sometimes exhausted her friends and family.
A service celebrating Kristen’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, at 820 Colonial Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507 on Saturday, January 16th at 1:30 PM. Please know that social distancing guidelines for the church will limit attendance to the first 65 to 70 people to arrive. A graveside service for immediate family will follow. A viewing will be held at Woodlawn Funeral Home at 6329 E. Virginia Beach, Boulevard in Norfolk on Thursday, Jan. 14th from 4 to 8 PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society at cancer.org. Or, if it fits with your beliefs, anyone who knew Kristen knows a memorial donation to the Democratic Party would also make Kristen very happy.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Saturday, January 16, 2021
January 19, 2021
Dear Monroe and Family,
On behalf of the City of Suffolk Treasurer's Office, I want to extend our deepest sympathy on the loss of your wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May you find comfort and peace in the wonderful memories of your life together.
Ronald H. Williams, City Treasurer and Staff
January 12, 2021
Kristen was such a beautiful woman. She was always so helpful and kind. I am so happy she married a very nice man, Monroe Lentz. Another gem of a city employee and they were fortunate to be blessed with a daughter who is like them. The world has been such a better place because of her. My heart goes out to the family.