Francis Lengefeld

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Francis R. "Tink" Lengefeld, 84, of Fort Myers, Fla., passed away Monday, June 11, 2012.

Tink was preceded in death by his wife, Julia Ann "Jan" of 57 years, in 2007.

He was born in 1928 in Gatesville, Texas, one of four sons of Charles and Elsa Lengefeld. He earned his unusual nickname as a boy for his zeal in tinkering with everything, taking things apart and putting them back together again, as good as new.

He attended Gatesville High School, played football and basketball, and excelled in academics. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1949 with an electrical engineering degree, was named a Distinguished Student, and was a very proud member of the Corps of Cadets, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel and a commission in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.

In 1949 he married Jan and started a long and successful career at Union Electric in St. Louis. In April 1951, he entered Signal Corps training at Camp Gordon, Ga. He served in Korea in 1952 as a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps.

After the war he resumed his career at Union Electric. He rose steadily to become president of Missouri Utilities, a subsidiary of UE serving Southeast Missouri, headquartered in Cape Girardeau. He became very active in the community and served on the boards of Southeast Hospital, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts, United Way, and as a deacon of his church.

In 1983 Missouri Utilities was merged into UE and Tink and Jan moved back to St. Louis where he completed his career at UE (now Ameren) as vice president of the East Region. He was a very active member of Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, serving in many posts and as director of National Society of Professional Engineers from 1973 to 1975. He was appointed by the governor to be chairman of Missouri Board of Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors from 1974 to 1978. In 1986 he was named Engineer of the Year by Missouri Society of Professional Engineers.

Tink retired in 1988 and he and Jan moved to Seven Lakes in Fort Myers, where he enjoyed his hobbies of golf, travel and duplicate bridge. He was very active in his church, sang in the choir and Seven Lakes chorus, and was involved in the Seven Lakes Investment Club. He never stopped his public service and served two terms as president of Seven Lakes Condo Association, an association of more than 1,100 members. He also served as a SCORE mentor, an organization of retired executives helping small businesses. For the past three years, Tink lived in The Palms retirement community.

Tink is survived by three children, daughter Lynn (David) Cassilly, formerly of Fort Myers and now Tampa, Fla., son James (Linda) Lengefeld of Lemoore, Calif., daughter Leigh Lengefeld of Fort Myers; three grandchildren, Chris Cassilly of Fort Myers, Jamie (Spencer) Wike of Tampa, Heather Lengefeld of Chicago; and great-grandsons Davis and Miles Wike.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. today at the Seven Lakes Activities Room.

The National Cremation and Burial Society in North Fort Myers, Fla., was in charge of arrangements.