Leonardo "Lenny" Hernandez Sr. of Shiocton, WI passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on October 12, 2022 due to heart complications. Lenny was 97 years old and still tending to his eleven acre vegetable garden, of which he was very proud, until two-weeks before entering God's eternal grace. To have known Lenny was to love him and he certainly made an impact on those who were blessed to be part of his life. In his 97 years he has accomplished so many noteworthy things and led a truly remarkable life.
Leonardo Hernandez Sr. was born on April 22, 1925 in Crystal City, Texas to Ignacio and Anita (Terraza) Hernandez. Prior to being one of the first Mexican families to settle in Shiocton during the 1950's, Lenny and his family were migrant workers who traveled the country to work in farming. This lifestyle provided little opportunity for Lenny to pursue formal education, however, that did not take away from his intelligence and it did teach him to have a strong work ethic, strong sense of community, and a strong sense of family.
In 1941, at the age of 16, he met and married the love of his life, Juanita (Marinez) Hernandez. As they began welcoming their five children into the world, Lenny obtained a trucking license. For over 9 years, he drove an old canvas truck, which he used to help other migrant workers travel to different jobs around the country. Lenny was also employed as a laborer for the Hortonville Toy Factory and worked there until the factory closed down. From there, he worked for the Wire Products Company in Hortonville, until his retirement.
Lenny was an avid gardener and found much happiness in the opportunity to make a living through crop farming as well. This was one career he never retired from. He worked diligently to purchase his own farmland, which he proudly worked for roughly 72 years.
Lenny was an authentic man; a stranger to no one and he was wholeheartedly there for those in his life. He will be remembered mostly for his kindness, sense of humor, and humility. Lenny had a beaming smile, the kind that seemed to radiate happiness. He loved to laugh and joke around and often would tease grandchildren and great grandchildren with the famous line, "Now, who started it?" as he'd playfully hold his fists in front of his face and pretend to box. Lenny found great purpose in helping others. He provided many people with job opportunities on his farm and sponsored many local children through his church, St. Denis Parish of Shiocton. He even coached youth baseball in town for a number of years. To many community members, he will be remembered fondly as, "Grandpa Lenny." He enjoyed boxing and was an unofficial coach to his children. Enthusiastically, he would spar with them and teach them new skills. Lenny delighted in worshiping at church and spending time with his large extended family. He was a wonderful dancer who enjoyed moving to tejano music at one of his many birthday parties held at River Rail's dance hall. His favorite memories were made right at home during the many Christmas dinners he would host with family gathered all around to reminisce and fill his home with love and laughter.
Lenny is preceded in death by his parents: Ignacio and Anita Hernandez; his loving wife, Juanita Hernandez; special friend, Tina Garza; daughter, Susie Meidam; grandson, Christopher Hernandez; son-in-law, Ed Gaylor; daughters-in-law: Barb Hernandez, Annette Beyer; his brothers: Ignacio, Ermelindo, and Julian Hernandez; his sisters Petra and Martina Hernandez.
Lenny is survived by his children: Yolanda Gaylor, Leonardo Hernandez Jr., Louie Hernandez, Willie Hernandez, and Edelia Gonzalez; son-in-law, Bob Meidam; grandchildren: Mary Jo (Patrick) Dewar, Tina (Chris) Krause, Elly Hernandez (Craig Conradt), Craig (Amber) Hernandez, Rosie Gonzalez, Robert Meidam, Chad Hernandez, Lance Hernandez, Robin Hernandez, Lori Sommers; great-grandchildren: Kalynn (Spencer) Young, Shelby (Derrek) Davis, Melissa Krause (Cody Daul), Haily Mercier (Chris Kickbusch), Coltan Dewar, Hayden Shuckhart, Waylon and Leah Hernandez, Evan Gonzalez, Cole Hernandez, Natalia Sommers, Zoey and Duke Meidam; his great-great-grandchildren: Charlie and Aubree Davis; and sisters: Natividad Delgado, and Lupe Hernandez.
If you were to ask him what he deems his greatest accomplishment in life, it would not be the crops he so faithfully raised in his field every year. Rather, he would surely tell you about the family he raised instead. In order to leave a legacy one must make an impact on others so great that it long outlasts the one who left it behind. Lenny Hernandez left an incredible legacy, one filled with honor, love, and respect. His memory will be treasured and remain in the hearts of those who he has influenced throughout his long and fulfilling life.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt and special thank you to the hospice team at Compassus Care. The kind and compassionate care that was provided to Lenny in his home throughout his final days meant a great deal to him and his loved ones.
The funeral mass will be held at St. Denis Parish (N5591 2nd Street Shiocton, WI 54170) on Monday, October 17, 2022 with visitation taking place from 9-11 AM at the church. Burial will be held at Highland Memorial Park following funeral services (3131 N. Richmond Street, Appleton, WI 54911).
Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, Seymour, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online condolences can be expressed to Lenny's family at www.muehlboettcher.com