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Joseph Lents

February 21, 2022

U.S. Veteran
Obituary Viewed 1345 times

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Joseph Michael Lents, 1941-2022

Michael “Mike” Lents, 80, passed away peacefully Monday morning at his home in Decatur, surrounded by his beloved wife and children, following a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. With constant, sometimes heroic care from his wife and his son Jon, and with support from the staff of St. Mary’s Hospital and the Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Taylorville, Mike never fought that battle alone. In apparent recognition of that fact, his final words to his wife were, “You’re the best.”

Mike was born in Decatur on August 29th, 1941 and attended St. Patrick’s grade school, St. Teresa High School, and Millikin University where he played basketball. After college, he was drafted into the Army and served honorably as a medic in the Vietnam war. Upon returning home, he met the love his life, Judith Swearingen, whom he married in 1966 following a courtship of just a few months. Judi and Mike raised five very different children, all of them bizarre, brilliant, and beautiful in their own way.

They ultimately resided in the “Catholic Ghetto” neighborhood of Decatur and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Mike retired from the A.E. Staley Company after 25 years and then worked another seven years for Illinois Power, but his job was never his life’s work. That honor belonged to his family.

In fulfillment of their lifelong dream, Judi and Mike retired to Daytona Beach Shores for 13 years before returning to Decatur for his final years. Besides his family, he derived some of his greatest joy from walking the beach, bodysurfing, and coaching girls basketball.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Harold and Marie Lents of Decatur, his older brother Harold “Tony” Lents of Marshalltown, IA, and one grandchild, John Michael Andree.

Surviving are his wife, Judi Lents; sister Kaye (and Ralph) Pool of Peoria; children Dawn (and Mike) Strobeck of Orlando, Wendi Lents Andree of Darien, Jon Lents of Decatur, Darren (and Mindi) Lents of Cerro Gordo, Nathan Lents (and Oscar Cifuentes) of New York City; and eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, with one more currently on the way. And of course, Lyna, a Bearded Collie and the last in a long line of family pets that he constantly spoiled.

In the springtime, a funeral mass will be held at St. James Catholic Church followed by internment of ashes at Camp Butler. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be sent to Northeast Community Fund in Decatur.