Orville Joseph Lawrence Leinen, son of Zeno and Viola (Schwery) Leinen, was born on Aug. 13, 1934, on a farm near Panama, Iowa. He died on March 21, 2024, surrounded by family in his home in Panora at the age of 89 years.

Orville was baptized in Panama on Aug. 19, 1934, and attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Portsmouth, Iowa, for 12 years. He received First Communion and Confirmation at St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Orville grew to adulthood on his family’s farm (Peter M. Leinen Homestead).

In 1957, Orville was drafted into the Army and stationed with Btry A, 485th AAA Msl Bn (NIKE) Montrose Beach Park, Chicago 13, I11. Orv was advised from the beginning to never volunteer. Almost immediately, the drill sergeant asked for soldiers who knew how to drive.  Trying to follow the advice, he decided to not raise his hand while the other recruits around him did. Anyone who could drive was assigned to drive wheelbarrows. Then the sergeant asked for volunteers who were able to change the oil. The recruits were now hesitant to raise their hands because they did not know what the assignment would be. With a deep breath and a prayer, Orv raised his hand. The sergeant tossed the keys to Orv and from then on, his job was to drive and “keep it filled.” During his military career, he attained expert marksman with the M1 Carbine and 2nd class anti-aircraft artillery.

On Oct 3, 1959, Orville was united in marriage to Kathleen Schmitz at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church in Panama. The wedding was a double ring ceremony with Jerome Nabity and Marleen Schmitz (twin to Kathleen). The Leinen family began farming on land near Portsmouth. The following spring, they moved and eventually purchased the Msgr. Peter Schmitz farm. To this union, four children were born: Karla Ann in 1960, Cheryl Rose in 1961, Peter Joseph in 1963, and Jeffry Dean in 1964.

Orville was a hard worker. He grew crops and raised hogs and cattle. Along with farming, he worked on the Milwaukee Railroad, and started custom disc sharpening, grinding and combining. He continually supported his wife in nursing and her custom-fitted bra company. Through this venture, they earned trips that allowed them to travel extensively and gain many friends. Additionally, Orville, Kathleen and sons developed the Harlan Country Club Estates.

Orville was a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, and was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a lifetime member of the National Farmers Union. Orv enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing (even caught a marlin!). He also enjoyed playing cards, especially pinochle and pitch. Arguably, his favorite past time was making jokes and teasing loved ones. When younger, he loved to play baseball and was a lifelong New York Yankees fan. Orville enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play sports.

Orville was preceded in death by his mother, Viola, and father, Zeno; his brother, Harvey Leinen; sisters, Ursula Bruck, Eunice Blum, Verlee Leinen and Linda Daoust; and brothers-in-law Michael Bruck, Ralph Blum and Gilbert Loeffler.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Kathleen Leinen; his children, Karla (Thomas) Dougherty of Barboursville, West Virginia; Cheryl (Tim) Schwery of Underwood; Pete (Pam) Leinen of Harlan; Jeff (Janell) Leinen of Panama.

His 18 grandchildren: Joshua (Jessica) Dougherty, Rachel (Aaron) Thomas, Sarah Mitchell, Zachary Dougherty, Abigail (Matt) Cornelison, Elizabeth (Ryan) Richardson, Annabelle (Chase) Wells, Benjamin Schwery, Alicia (Josh) Yoder, Courtney (Perry) Krager, Brittany Leinen, Brandon Leinen, Jenna Miller, Camden Leinen, Joshua Cheek, Jonathan Cheek, Jocelyn Cheek and Jonas Reynolds. 

His 17 great grandchildren, plus a few on the way: Caitlin Dougherty, Bryson Dougherty, Eve Thomas, Callie Thomas, Elijah Thomas, Joel Mitchell, Emma Mitchell, Bailey Cornelison, Jemi Cornelison, Jaxton Cornelison, Gentry Cornelison, Quinn Cornelison, Elias Richardson, Audrey Richardson, Leo Richardson, Tate Richardson and Ryder Yoder.

His brother and sisters: James (Dorothy) Leinen of Denison; Mildred (Jerry) Brus and Zita (Gaylen) Smith of Portsmouth; sister-in-law, Charlotte Leinen of Harlan; brother-in-law, Mark Doust of Dunbar, Nebraska; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

He will be dearly missed but we celebrate knowing he is with our Heavenly Savior. 

As Orv would say, “Now it is time to get to work.”

Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Panora. Burial will be 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Panama, with military honors. Visitation will be Tuesday, March 26, 2024, from 5-8 p.m. with a Rosary Service at 8 p.m. all at the church.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to: Panora Volunteer Fire Department (P.O. Box 42 Panora, Iowa 50216) or Mary’s Meals (marysmeals.org).