Stephen Lentz labored at Roy’s Shoe Store on Stevens Avenue for thus lengthy that many individuals referred to as him “Roy.”
Lentz, one of many final cobblers in Higher Portland, who was recognized for his kindness and outgoing character, died on July 24 from issues of vascular dementia. He was 83.
Lentz started working at Roy’s Shoe Store becoming footwear when he was 16 years outdated. He repaired the soles of males’s footwear and work boots and girls’s excessive heels and costume footwear. He made repairs to purses, briefcases, suitcases, belts, jackets and baseball gloves.
In 1981, Stephen and his spouse, Nancy Lentz, purchased the enterprise from George Roy Jr. and moved their household into the house above the store. After he retired in 2010, Lentz would stroll downstairs to shine footwear, do hand stitching, and wait on prospects.
“It’s the one job he ever had,” mentioned his daughter, Laurie Lentz Roy, of Hollis. “It’s unbelievable. He cherished the individuals. He simply cherished participating with individuals. You couldn’t not like him. He was so sort and compassionate. There was an innocence about him in his character. He was simply so real.”
His son, Dan Lentz, who now runs Roy’s Shoe Store, began working there shining footwear when he was 12 years outdated. Lentz taught Dan the commerce – his son mentioned he had an awesome eye for mixing colours. If a buyer wanted footwear dyed for a marriage, Lentz would combine the colours, often in a child meals jar, to seek out the correct match.
“He would add a drop of this and a drop of that till he fine-tuned it,” he mentioned. “Generally he would have 7 to 10 pairs of footwear to dye. He was actually good at that. He was good at shoe repairs and patching.”
Lentz graduated from Deering Excessive Faculty in 1957 and served within the Nationwide Guard till 1965. He was married to Nancy Lentz for 61 years and raised 4 kids on Wyndham Avenue.
Lentz was a devoted father whose life centered round household and neighborhood. He was beloved by neighborhood youngsters and was recognized to pile them into his station wagon for journeys to Riverton Pool to swim.
“He was like an grownup child,” his daughter mentioned. “It was like having your dad be your good friend. He introduced us sledding and ice skating within the winter and crusing, mountaineering and canoeing in the summertime. If there was a mountaineering journey deliberate, there was at all times youngsters from the neighborhood at any given time. He at all times included anybody.”
Lentz favored to assist individuals and tinker with bikes, vehicles and boats. If somebody’s automotive broke down in entrance of the shoe store, he would provide to assist. When a child introduced him a bicycle with a flat tire or busted chain, Lentz made the repairs.
When Lentz had an thought, he made it occur. He needed to go crusing, however didn’t have a ship. So Lentz rigged a sail to a canoe and put in a centerboard and tiller. Just a few years later, he purchased a 19-foot Lightning sailboat. Within the Nineties, he purchased a Kells sailboat, which he moored at East Finish Seaside. His son mentioned he would paddle the canoe to the boat, saying hello to everybody. He mentioned his father taught him easy methods to sail.
“He would sail into locations he most likely shouldn’t have at low tide when rocks had been uncovered. I’d stand up on the entrance of the bow and level out rocks to him, so he knew which approach to steer. I used to be 10, 11, and 12 years outdated doing that. It was actually nice. What we will need to have seemed like on the market on that boat,” his son mentioned laughing.
Lentz rode his bicycle to and from the shoe store every single day when he lived within the Riverton neighborhood. He had lifelong passions for crusing and mountaineering and loved winter hikes at Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. His youngsters remembered mountaineering journeys on Mount Baldface and Mount Washington, and tenting journeys to Mount Blue State Park in Weld.
“After I consider my childhood, I bear in mind all the issues that my dad and mom did with us,” his daughter mentioned. “We went tenting for two to three weeks at a time. They began tenting at Mount Blue when it first opened. It’s one thing we at all times did. I camped with my women there. Now, my daughter camps along with her son there. After I consider my childhood, I consider all these superior recollections.”
Lentz and his spouse lived above the shoe store till 2019 after they moved into assisted residing. Three months later, he received sick and went from the hospital to the Barron Middle in Portland, the place he died. There have been lengthy intervals after they couldn’t see one another due to COVID-19. It was the longest time the couple had been aside since they began relationship in 1958, and it was heartbreaking for each of them.
“They had been two items of a puzzle that match collectively completely,” their daughter mentioned. “After they had been nonetheless residing on Stevens Avenue they might stroll to the library holding fingers. They really cherished one another.”