Cover photo for John Wayne Lenington's Obituary
John Wayne Lenington Profile Photo
1945 John 2023

John Wayne Lenington

April 25, 1945 — January 7, 2023

A graveside memorial service for John Lenington, 77 of Sallisaw, Oklahoma will be at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at Akins Cemetery in Sallisaw, Oklahoma under the direction of Agent Mallory Martin Funeral Service, Inc.

He was born April 25, 1945 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Arthur and Jewel Lenington. He married Betty (Compton) Lenington July 17, 1978. Our beloved Johnny passed away January 7, 2023 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma after an extended illness. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Betty; his sister, Wanda West; and his brother, Gene.

John graduated from Northeastern State University in 1968 with a BA in Education with major in Spanish and French and was a high school teacher in Spanish and French in both Fort Smith and Sallisaw Public Schools. He taught at the University of Missouri – Columbia from 1985 – 1987 as a Teaching Assistant in Spanish. In the Fall of 1985, he was accepted into the doctoral program. He completed the Post Graduate Doctoral course work in 1988, but was unable to complete the doctoral degree because of the declining health of his wife. He also received his Masters in Spanish Literature in August of 1985 from New Mexico Highland University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He then taught at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio from 1987- 1988 where he was an Assistant Professor of Spanish and French. He taught at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas from 1988-1990 where he was an Assistant Professor of Spanish and French. He then was an Instructor of Spanish and Supervisor of the BSE Program at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1990.

John was passionate about teaching and education. As one student wrote, “The enthusiasm with which he leads his class is contagious” and “Most impressive was his availability to any student that may require his assistance.“ He was happiest when he was teaching and could engage any student with his teaching style.

He is survived by one sister, Clara Knight of Fort Smith; several nieces and nephews: Steve Owens (Andrea) of Sallisaw, Linda Thomas (Danny) of Sallisaw, Niki Wilson of Fort Smith, Pam Ollis (Dale) of Sallisaw, Terry Wilson (Rhoda) of Sallisaw, Brenda Shafer (Ricky) of Sallisaw, and Karen Lenington of Sallisaw. He is also survived by a host of great nieces and nephews, an extensive list of friends from all over the country, and former students who loved him dearly and will miss him more. Jeff, Trina and Josie Owens, thank you for always being the first to respond when Johnny needed anything! Josie, you were special to your Uncle Johnny. The name Josie in Hebrew means, “God increases.” This image of something that expands and increases our world is life-affirming and comforting and that is what you were to Uncle Johnny.

The family sends a special thank you to Linda Fox and the nursing staff of Mays Professional Home Health for their unwavering love, care and support these past years. We would also like to thank the staff at the Sallisaw Hospital for your care and support of Johnny and his family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Wayne Lenington, please visit our flower store.


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