Leonard Eugene Lamendola Obituary

Leonard Eugene Lamendola passed away on March 22, 2011, in Bradenton, FL, after a twelve year battle with prostate cancer. He made his home in Melbourne, FL, for about the past ten years. He spent the final weeks of his life close to his daughter, Lynnette.

Some biographical facts

Len, or "Lenny" as many of his friends called him, was born on November 13, 1936 at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, IL. He was the son of Thomas and Mamie Lamendola, who preceded him in death. His sister (one of two) Tina preceded him in death, also.


  • Graduated from West High School (Rockford, IL).
  • Was a veteran of the United States Army.
  • Went to night school at Rock Valley College on the GI Bill, earning two Associate Degrees while holding down a full-time job.


After working as a mechanic in his youth, Len obtained work as a draftsman and worked his way up to being a tool designer. He distinguished himself with ingenious solutions to tricky problems, throughout his entire career. Most of that career was spent at Twin Disc (Rockford, IL). Part of his pre- Twin Disc career was at Barber Colman, where his son also worked at one time.

A former coworker, Gil Marshall (Independence, MO), said of him, "Len was a congenial worker." Gil and Len kept in touch many years after their long work relationship ended. Gil left Twin Disc before the final shoe dropped, but Len stayed on until the end.

After Twin Disc closed, Len continued on as a tool designer for various firms in the Rockford area.

Hobbies and interests

During his retirement in Melbourne, Len enjoyed being a Moose Club member. He was an avid card player, well-noted handyman, and car enthusiast. And he was exceptionally good at all of these things.

  • He was hard to beat at cards (he knew several games), and was a whiz at quickly adding up numbers.
  • It seemed like he could fix or build anything.
  • In high school, he had one of the hottest cars around. His passion for cars lasted into his final days.

During the 1970s, he reached the skill level of journeyman (or close to it) in several of the building trades. He and his son enjoyed their best times together working on cars or remodeling projects even well into Len's retirement. Both his daughter and son (a master electrician with skill in the other trades) asked his advice on how to fix or build things, because it always turned out to be good advice.

Len is also a published author. His article, "What Makes a Good Working Drawing?" ran in EC&M Magazine.

Len had an amazing spatial ability. His son recounts the story of building a workbench in 1991. "I was going to draw it out on paper, but he drew it out in his head while I was still trying to make lines on paper. He just started measuring boards, marking them with a pencil, and telling me 'cut here.' It went together perfectly."

Len was also a happy dog sitter, enjoying time with his daughter's dog Molly. They seemed to have a special bond.

In this time-starved world, Len somehow always made time for his kids. No matter how busy he was, he'd pretend he had nothing else going on when they'd call. If it's unusual for parents to tell their kids, "I'm glad you called," it was not unusual for him to do so.

Other notes of interest

  • His first and only train trip was as a youth; he took the train to visit his Aunt Chris.
  • Len regularly donated blood, over the years.
  • He was short (about 5'5"), and this bothered him. It didn't bother anyone who knew him.
  • Len wasn't physically rigorous, but he had a grip strength several times that of the average man. He attributed this to working with tools (his son shares this same anomalous grip strength).
  • He liked to recount the story of how he arranged for a greased pig race for the birthday party of one of his children. It really was a blast, and it made him light up to talk about it even decades later.
  • His favorite vacation destination was Hawaii.

Survived by

He is survived by his:

  • Son (first child), Mark Lamendola of Merriam, KS.
  • Daughter, Lynnette Lamendola of Parrish, FL.
  • Sister, Antoinette Warren (husband is Bill) of Ft. Myers, FL.
  • Aunt, Chris Bartholomy of Youngstown, OH.

He was also close to his cousin Larry Pozzi, of Rock Island, IL. Another cousin he was close to was Joe Lamendella (yes, a different spelling), of Chicago. It grieved him when Joe died on the operating table in 2010.

Len was formerly married (32 years) to Gloria Demus (now Johnson) of Rockford, IL, the mother of his children. He was later married (for several years) to Joy Harris of Poplar Grove, IL.

Final arrangements

He was cremated and his ashes were interred after a military taps ceremony at Sarasota National VA Cemetery on April 5, 2011.

Cause of death

He did not die from cancer. He died from malpractice that ensued from his having cancer. Due to improper procedures, he kept getting one urinary tract infection after another, getting weaker and weaker. There were other issues as well, but this was the main one. At no time did the doctors address the cause of the cancer, a cause that is well-known.

Click the images below, to enlarge.

As a retiree in 2009

As a GI in 1958

With Buddy Ron in 2001