LE MARS — Reverend Lee Mentink, 86, of Le Mars, Iowa, passed away Sunday, November 3, 2019 at the Good Samaritan Society of Le Mars.
Memorial service will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, November 7, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church, L.C.M.S. in Le Mars. Reverend Tim Geitz and Reverend Merle Mahnken will officiate. Burial will be at a later date in Parish Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Parish Township, Kenosha, Wisconsin. Visitation with the family present will be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. There will be a Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will resume from 10:00 a.m. until service time on Thursday at the church. Arrangements are with the Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Reverend Mentink’s name to LCMS World Mission through Mission Central (c/o Gary Thies, 40718 Hwy E16, Mapleton, IA 51034).
Reverend Lee Robert Mentink was born on May 31, 1933, at home in Racine, Wisconsin, son of Loyal Warden Mentink and Mildred Edith (Klema) Biehn and step-father Walter Biehn. He was called to his Heavenly home on All-Saints Day Sunday, November 3, 2019, at the Good Samaritan Society (Brentwood) in Le Mars, Iowa, at the age of eighty-six.
Lee was baptized February 25, 1934, at the Second Presbyterian Church, in Racine, Wisconsin. He was confirmed August 22, 1948, at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod, in Paris Township, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, with the confirmation verse of Galatians 6:9. His last church membership belonged to Grace Lutheran Church LCMS in Le Mars, Iowa.
Lee was raised on a dairy farm by Kenosha, Wisconsin, and participated in 4-H and FFA. He attended school in Burbank Public of Racine County and Thomas Jefferson Public of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and graduated from Racine County Agricultural School on May 25, 1951, in Rochester, Wisconsin. On March 6, 1952, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving in Radar on three different ships, mostly on the USS Irwin DD794 Destroyer. He received the Good Conduct Medal during the Korean Conflict, plus three other medals his ship received. He was honorably discharged on March 2, 1956.
On July 11, 1954, Lee was united in marriage to Eleanor Frances Hersom on her father’s farm in Center Lebanon, Maine. This union was blessed with four children: Michael, Rachel, Rebecca, and Mark. Lavonne and Donna Longie joined the family as foster children in Luverne, North Dakota, in 1965.
While Lee was in the U. S. Navy, Eleanor lived in Newport, Rhode Island, where Michael was born. Rachel was born the following year in Racine, Wisconsin, where Lee worked for an Aluminum Foundry for a short time. In August 1956, they moved to Decorah, Iowa, where Rebecca was born. Lee attended Luther College and worked as a custodian for the church they attended and was a member of the Classics Club. He received his BA degree from Luther College on May 26, 1960, majoring in Classical Languages and minoring in Bible, History, English, and Psychology. After graduation, they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Lee attended Luther Seminary, ALC, and Mark was born. Lee graduated from Luther Seminary, receiving his Masters of Divinity on his 31st birthday, May 31, 1964, and was ordained on Father’s Day, June 21, 1964, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served ALC churches in North Dakota (Luverne, Cooperstown, Wishek, and Fredonia) and Iowa (Aurora, Andover, and Luana). In 1980, he became a Pastor in the LCMS, and served churches in Iowa (Remsen, Early, and Schleswig). While in Remsen, Lee served as the Le Mars Circuit Counselor. During his ministry and after retirement, he served as vacancy pastor in Kingsley, Hinton, Peace Marcus, Climbing Hill, and Ireton as well as visitation pastor for numerous area churches. He was influential in organizing Hunger Walks, Appalachian Clothing Drives, Used Clothing Store in Early, Older Adult Ministries, Assistance Programs for Vietnamese, Hungarian, and Cambodian refugees, and supported World Missions (Mission Central).
Lee was a life-long learner. He continually studied the Holy Bible in English (several versions), Greek, and Latin. With his love for preaching and teaching the Bible, he wrote and conducted many Bible Studies throughout his ministry, including during his 10 years in the nursing home. He was enjoyed visiting the elderly. Being an avid reader, he read biographies, auto biographies, mysteries, adventure stories, and a lot of history, particularly Colonial History. He researched many topics on his computer and wrote many short stories, poems, and several epic adventure stories. For past times, he enjoyed his gardens, raising goats, rabbits, and chickens, making wine, woodworking, and tree research.
Lee was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor, his parents and in-laws, his son Mark, his brother Wayne and sister-in-laws Helen, Donna, and Sally, brother-in-law William Forrest Hersom, son-in-law Virgil Feather, and grandson Dylan Feather. He will be deeply missed by his son, Michael (Cathy) of Franksville, Wisconsin; two daughters, Rachel of Schleswig, Iowa, and Rebecca (Martin) Letsche of Remsen, Iowa; two foster daughters, Lavonne Feather of Warwick, North Dakota, and Donna (Dennis) Stephen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, Erik Perman, Sara Mentink and daughters Mikala and Alexa, Daniel (Jacquie) Letsche and daughter Willa, Pastor Jason (Lindsay) Letsche and children Liam, Audrianna, and Judah, Emily (Matthew) Bork and daughters Allison and Cheyenne, Christopher Stephen, Shiloh Stephen, Autumn Stephen, Elijah Feather, Dustin Feather, Brandon Feather, LaDawna Feather, and Virgil Feather Jr; two brothers, Dale Mentink and Darrell Mentink; four in-laws, Muriel Hersom of California, Barbara Hersom of New Hampshire, and Carl and Dorothy Hersom of Maine; several nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.