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Former Lawrence Commissioner Barkley Lentz dies

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

CADDO — A former Lawrence County commissioner who was instrumental in establishing Veterans Memorial Park and a new Caddo-Midway Volunteer Fire Department station died Tuesday.

Barkley Lentz, 79, died of apparent heart failure at Parkway Medical Center early Tuesday morning, said his son, Donald Lentz.

Barkley Lentz, who was born and raised in the Caddo area, represented District 5 on the County Commission from 1998 to 2006.

District 5 covers Caddo and the East Lawrence Area bordering Morgan County.

Barkley Lentz did not run for re-election in 2006 because of health problems, said his son. He had suffered from two heart attacks since his triple-bypass surgery in 1996.

"His family tried to talk him out of running and told him he was crazy, but it was his own decision," said Donald Lentz, laughing.

"Then he chose to run for another term because there were still things he wanted to get done."

During his time in office, Lentz lobbied for funding to expand the Veterans park in East Lawrence and was the largest supporter of the new Caddo-Midway Volunteer Fire Department station on Lawrence County 434.

Because of his support, firefighters chose to name the facility Lentz Fire Station No. 2.

Caddo residents and firefighters honored Lentz, who was a volunteer firefighter for 10 years, during the station's grand opening ceremony Nov. 5, 2006.

Barkley Lentz had been active with the volunteer fire department since the late '60s when he donated 0.25 acres to build the first fire station in Caddo, said Donald Lentz.

"After being a volunteer firefighter for a while, he felt like he should leave that to the younger folks and joined the board of directors," said Donald Lentz.

Barkley Lentz retired from Prestolite in 1972 where he worked as a lab technician. He then delivered mail for the U.S. Postal Service for 20 years.

"He would go out of his way to see that older people got their mail. He would even go to their door instead of dropping it in their box just to make sure," said Donald Lentz.

Barkley Lentz chose to spend his life at Caddo because he loved the people and the rural community, said Donald Lentz.

He was married to Corrine Lentz, who is also from Caddo, for almost 57 years.

Barkley Lentz is survived by his wife, two sons, three daughters, 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Visitation is at Parkway Funeral Home on Alabama 24 on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

His funeral is Friday at 2 p.m. followed by burial at East Lawrence Memorial Gardens.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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