Former Mt. Pleasant man loved cooking, ran a food truck
Former businessman James Lentz loved to cook, whether it was serving barbecues from his food truck at the annual Mt. Pleasant Glass Festival or joining with his wife to cook two big turkeys on Thanksgiving to feed an extended family of 40 to 50 people in his house.
“He loved every minute of it,” said his daughter, Shelly Lentz Cuppett, of Parkersburg, W.Va.
James H. Lentz of Parkersburg, W.Va., formerly of Mt. Pleasant, died Friday, March 29, 2019, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident near Parkersburg. He was 72.
Mr. Lentz was born Aug. 12, 1946, and raised in Mt. Pleasant, a son of the late Henry J. Lentz and Doris Brown Lentz.
After graduating from the former Ramsay High School in 1964, he studied engineering at Grove City College and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
But his father needed him to work at his business, Mt. Pleasant Foundry. Mr. Lentz was a laborer in the foundry from 1961-70.
He was the foundry manager from 1970-75 before becoming the owner and manager of JHL Foundry in Bridgeport in 1975. He continued in that capacity until he retired in 2003.
While he was operating his foundry business, Mr. Lentz started Big Jim’s BBQ. He, along with members of his wife’s family, served barbecue sandwiches from a food truck, his daughter said. They were a fixture at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Festival, as well as the Hershey Regional, an antique car show, Cuppett said.
He met his wife, Sharon Landy Lentz, through friends, and the couple had been married for 51 years.
She said her husband was the type of man who, “if I mentioned something I needed, he would get it. He took notice of what I wanted.”
Mr. Lentz loved antique cars and dreamed of repairing an old Chevrolet Biscayne so he could once again drive the same model as his first car, his daughter said. He attended the Hershey Regional Antique Automobile Club of America, a gathering of antique car buffs, for 40 years.
He was a member of the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department for many years, loved gospel music and sang in the Steel City Quartet.
He and his wife moved to the Parkersburg area in 2004 to be close to his daughters and grandchildren, his daughter said.
Despite his health problems in recent years, including the loss of a leg from diabetes, “he was a real fighter. He was just an overcomer,” she said.
His daughter said when she was growing up, her father loved riding roller coasters with her and her sister, Erin Lentz Marte, now of Vienna, W.Va.
In addition to his wife and daughters, Mr. Lentz is survived by three grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Galone-Caruso Funeral Home, 204 Eagle St., Mt. Pleasant. Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home, immediately following the viewing, with his brother-in-law, the Rev. Philip Medsger, officiating.
Private inurnment will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .