Lendt was a man of the land

Lifelong Wyoming resident founded successful greenhouse, pumpkin business

 

Roy Lendt spent his whole life in Wyoming, never straying far from the land his grandparents settled on in 1860. The father of three spent decades farming that land. (Photo submitted)

Cliff Buchan
Staff Writer

There aren’t many area residents who can trace their roots to pioneer settlers of this area. But Roy Lendt could.

Lendt, who spent his entire life in the Wyoming area, was a third-generation farmer and the founder of two farm-based businesses.

Lendt never strayed far from the land that his grandparents, George and Mary Lendt settled in Wyoming Township in 1860, said his daughter, Val Wittner. Wittner said her father had experienced heart issues over the past two years. He was 84 when he died on Friday, Oct. 26.

Still, she said, even last summer her father worked the ground, planting tomatoes and pumpkins. “He just loved farming,” Wittner said.

He was born on April 13, 1928 in Wyoming. He farmed in his early years after completing the eighth grade in Chisago City. As a young man he spent 25 years as a carpenter in the Forest Lake area and in the Twin Cities.

Her father never lost his desire to farm, Wittner said. That desire led to a pair of businesses.

During his farming years, Lendt raised sheep, hogs and geese. “He even tried rabbits one year,” his daughter said. He was also good with the plantings, she added.

“He liked to dabble and try new things,” Wittner said. “One year he planted some pumpkins and sold them to friends.” The pumpkins that remained were placed in a roadside stand and customers began to stop. “They went over so well,” she said.

It was that venture that eventually led to Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch. In the early years, the business mainly wholesaled pumpkins to retail outlets. That’s how the business operated from its start in 1972 until Wittner joined her father in 1989 to expand the business.

Pumpkins were still sold to wholesale accounts, but the Lendt grounds became an entertainment center where customers could walk the fields and pick their own pumpkins or enjoy hayrides through the fields.

Roy Lendt retired in 2003 when his daughter took over full operation.

From 1970 to 1990, Lendt operated Lendt Greenhouse on the grounds of their home in Wyoming Township. During that 20-year period, Lendt grew a wide range of garden products that were sold wholesale to retail markets. At its peak, 10 greenhouses were in production.

Like the pumpkin business, the greenhouse operation started slow and kept growing. “They kept adding greenhouses,” Wittner said. “It was a wonderful business.”

Wittner said her father always took pride in his heritage as the grandson of pioneers. Just recently, she said, her father donated an old smokehouse that had been used on the pioneer farm to the Chisago County Historical Society. It will be moved to the Almelund Threshing Show grounds east of North Branch. He was also proud that his three children and two grandchildren continued to live on the original Lendt property in Wyoming.

Funeral Details

A funeral service for Roy Roland Lendt will be Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Mattson Funeral Home in Forest Lake. Interment will be at Scandinavian Cemetery, Forest Lake.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Annabel (Nygren) Lendt; three children, Vicki (Mark) Miller, Scott (Jo) Lendt, and Valri (Jim Johannes) Wittner; 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and one brother, Curtis Lendt.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Alma Lendt.

Cards and memorials may be sent to the family in care of Mattson Funeral Home, 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake, MN 55025.

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