Harold Lechner, 1932-2018

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Harold E. Lechner, 86, of Austin passed away Friday, June 15, 2018, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home in Austin. Harold Edward was born at home on June 7, 1932, in Freeborn, to George and Cora (Peterson) Lechner. Harold attended Austin schools through the ninth grade, then began working as a farm hand for Bill Lyle.

Harold Lechner

In 1957, Harold married Lucille Olson at Oakland Lutheran Church. Harold entered military service in the United States Army on Nov. 20,1957. He was stationed for 14 months at Ft. Bliss Army base in El Paso, Texas. It was there that Harold met another army recruit by the name of Elvis Presley and had the opportunity to visit with Elvis during Elvis’s two weeks on the base.  Harold was later stationed at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He then was moved to Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where he was honorable discharge from his military service on Jan. 21, 1959. Harold returned home to be with Lucille. The couple was together for 25 years and had one daughter, Brenda. They later divorced. 

When he returned home, he began driving semi for Red Owl. He was able to rent farm land and also began farming at that time. Harold later drove semi for Jensen’s Transport, then Barry Jacobson Trucking in Albert Lea. Harold had an opportunity to move into his mother’s house, in Oakland and continued to farm. In 1982, he quit farming and resumed his trucking career until his retirement. During his retirement, Harold worked in maintenance at the Cedars of Austin. He enjoyed collecting John Deere tractors and showing his tractors at the Mower County Fair.  Harold was a longtime member of Oakland Lutheran Church, and a member of the Austin Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 703.  He also enjoyed showing his 1955 and 1968 Ford Mustangs.

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Harold is survived by his daughter, Brenda (Louis) Schilman of Le Sueur; companion, Arlene Vanek, of Glenville; grandchildren Lucretia (Lio Anchondo) Wilder and Shane Schilman; great-grandchildren Bailey, Mercedes, Madison and Meyah; step-great-grandchildren Gavin and Joanna; sister-in-law, Marlene Lechner of Austin; former sister-in-law Marjorie Stonecypher; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents George and Cora Lechner; brothers Dean Lechner and Earl (Beverly) Lechner; and sister, Joyce Zech.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Oakland Lutheran Church. The Rev. Waldemar Gies will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin and will continue Saturday morning for one hour prior to services at the church. Interment will be at the Oakland Lutheran Cemetery. Memorials preferred to Oakland Lutheran Church or donor’s choice. Services pre-arranged and performed by Worlein Funeral Home of Austin. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.