Ernest Lynn Lentell, age 99, of Council Grove, passed away November 15, 2020 at Diversicare of Council Grove. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, private services will be held. A Celebration of Lynn’s life will be held at a later date.
Lynn was born on Oct 15, 1921 at his Mother’s family (Randle) farm in Diamond Springs, KS. He was raised on the Ernest Linwood Lentell family farm in Wilsey, KS. He attended Olive Branch rural grade school, in Delavan, KS and graduated from Wilsey High School in 1939. In high school he played basketball and baseball. He loved baseball throughout his life, and he was a big fan of the Kansas City Royals in his later years. He attended Emporia State Teachers’ College for one year, before moving to Wichita to work at Beech Aircraft. He met his wife, Edith Pauline (Polly) Holmes at Beech and they were married in her hometown of Newton, KS on October 12, 1942.
Lynn was drafted into the Navy in 1942 and did his basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where upon completion he was reassigned to Marine Corps Avionics. His advance training as a radar servicing technician was in Utah and Texas. He shipped out to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific in late 1943 or early 1944. He was in Bomber Squadron VMB-413 based on Emirau until the Japanese surrender in 1945. He was discharged from the Marines in August 1946.
Lynn attended Kansas State University on the GI Bill and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1949. His son Randall Lynn Lentell was born there during his last semester at KSU in 1949. Upon graduation he moved the family to Council Grove, KS where he worked for the REA (Rural Electrification Administration) for two years. Lynn returned to work for Beech Aircraft in 1951, initially at the Herrington, KS airport facility. Lynn subsequently moved the family back to Wichita to again work at the local Beech Aircraft facility. Their daughter Paula Kyle was born in Wichita in 1953. In 1958 Lynn was transferred to Beech’s Aerospace Division in Boulder, CO to work on their NASA Project Mercury manned-space program contract.
In 1965, Lynn went to work for General Electric in Daytona Beach, FL to work on their NASA manned-lunar landing program contracts. At GE he worked on Projects Gemini and Apollo. He would go to Cape Canaveral, FL to monitor launches until the manned space crafts were in orbit, and vectored off to the moon, at which time he would fly to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to monitor the flights in lunar orbit. Once the lunar activities were over and the crafts were on the return trip back to earth, he would return home to Daytona. He and his family were very proud of his NASA related work, and he had many astronaut mementos and program memorabilia around his home.
In 1973, Lynn’s aerospace contract work was completed and GE transferred him to Washington, DC to work on their Navy and Commercial nuclear power programs. His work primarily revolved around Nuclear NQA-1 Quality Assurance and Quality Control programs. Lynn and Polly lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC. During his time working on GE’s nuclear power programs, he and Polly had extended stays on projects in Pasadena, CA and Syracuse, NY. They enjoyed their project travel assignments and they were always active in their local churches. He retired from GE during his final Washington, DC assignments in 1986 and he and Polly moved to their final home in Council Grove, KS, near his boyhood home of Wilsey.
Lynn & Polly loved retirement in small farm-town Council Grove and were both active in community groups. Lynn was Secretary for the local Historical Society for 16 yrs and Polly was actively involved as well. They were members of the local “Country Club” and were socially active there until he finally quit playing golf when he was 88+ yrs old, when he could no longer drive over “200 yds”…. Polly was very actively involved in the Morris County Hospital Axillary. Lynn was a long-time member of the Council Grove Masonic Lodge #36, and the Isis Shrine & Scottish Rite, Salina, at the highest levels. He & Polly were both very active in the First Baptist Church in Council Grove for many years.
Lynn suffered a stroke in 2019 and he subsequently moved into Diversicare of Council Grove. The compassionate staff of Diversicare provided loving care for him during the last year of his life.
Lynn will be buried with full military honors.
Lynn was preceded in death by his parents; wife Polly; and sisters Margaret and Ellen. He is survived by his son Randall Lentell and wife Sue, of Boise, ID; daughter Kyle Dike and husband Kenny, of Wilsey; 6 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Council Grove or Kansas State University Foundation. They may be sent in care of Sawyer Funeral Home, Box 273, Council Grove, KS 66846.
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