Cowsmo would like to send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Albert.
Albert Joseph Lenkaitis Sr, age 75, passed away Sunday, May 10, 2020 at his home in Saint Charles, IL. A life-long agricultural enthusiast, he was born August 26, 1944 in Spring Valley, IL and raised in nearby Granville on his family’s dairy farm. He met his true love, Mary Etta (Capitani) on February 10, 1961 when the two were set-up on a date for a school dance. They were married on June 24, 1967 and enjoyed 53 years together. They have four children and eleven grandchildren.
Albert graduated from the University of Illinois in 1966 with a degree in ag economics and dairy science. He briefly worked in construction before beginning a job at a grain elevator. There, he was given a chance to work for the company as a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade – a job that flourished into a 53-year career. He abruptly left March 17, 2020 when he was unable to continue due to his lung cancer diagnosis.
His escape from the hustle and bustle of working in the city was the family’s dairy farm. Albert and Mary Etta purchased the farm in 1983 as it was located next to their home in St. Charles, IL. The couple wanted to seize the opportunity to reconnect to the industry and the lifestyle. Although the landscape around them has changed with urban sprawl, the couple has been committed to making the farm sustainable for future generations of the family to enjoy. Most recently, they built a new dairy barn outfitted with technology including robotic milkers.
While this dairy farmer rarely milked a cow, he drove tractors every evening after work and on weekends. If he wasn’t in a tractor, you would likely find him in the farm shop. There, he would work on anything that needed fixing and could tell you the location of every tool and part in the crammed cabinets and shelves. At any Kane County 4-H, Illinois Holstein Association or National Red and White Dairy Cattle Association event, you could count on your conversation with him to include the latest news on the agricultural commodity markets or a funny joke. You could also count on him to have a pipe, cup of coffee or both in-hand.
The people closest to him will remember him for his witty banter. Albert was known to ask challenging questions and put forward challenging ideas. Although frustrating in the moment, it always resulted in his unwavering support – if you were willing to put in the work. Many can attest to how the unconventional approach pushed them to go further, reshaped their ideas and enriched their lives. These stories from friends and family are an important part of his legacy and some of his proudest moments.
Albert is survived by his son Albert, Jr. (Rhonda) and their children, Briley, AJ, Caden and Denver, daughter Elizabeth (James) and their children JT, Katelyn and Ella, daughter Victoria (Ryan) and their children Ethan, Isabel and Marshall and son Andrew (Sarah) and their son Lucas.
Private services will be held May 14, 2020 at Yurs Funeral Home in St. Charles. A Celebration of Life memorial will be scheduled later in the year as conditions allow.
Every Kane County Fair, Albert would be ringside watching his children (and more recently grandchildren) showing their favorite animals. He believed in the impact of youth agricultural programs and served as the Dairy Superintendent and on the Blue Ribbon Sale committee. Therefore, in lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider honoring Albert’s memory with a donation to the Kane County 4-H Foundation 535 S. Randall Road, Ste A, St. Charles, IL 60174.