Monday, June 27, 2005

St. Lenny Patron Saint of Anarchist Book Sellers

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Words fail to describe Lenny. He loved us, and we loved him. He was a mentor, a father figure, an inspiration, and a deeply cherished friend. If a deep personal power comes from living by one's beliefs, then Lenny was the most powerful Jedi I have ever met. May the devil have been getting drunk, and not realized you were dead until you had already established a "trap line" in the back alleys of Heaven.
You are loved. and You are missed.
Last Word Books

Leonard Curtis Walden

Appeared: 2005-06-25

Leonard Walden was born on November 21, 1946 to parents James Malcolm Walden and Maxine Cecile (Grant) Walden in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was the second oldest of four children. His father was in the United States Army, and during his childhood he moved to several Army bases, including one in Germany. Leonard developed a keen intellect early in life, and did well in high school. He particularly enjoyed playing saxophone in the marching band, and recalled his teachers questioning the authenticity of his written reports because of the advanced logic he displayed. In the mid-1970s, Leonard moved to Spokane, where his mother had relocated after his parents separated. His mother developed multiple sclerosis, and Lennie helped brighten her years in a convalescent hospital. During his many visits to her, he became acquainted with her roommate, Ella McCarty Butcher, a renowned Spokane Indian elder. Ella adopted Lennie as her son, so he was privileged to have two exceptional mothers. Leonard married Lisa Hornbrook in 1984, after a three-year courtship that took them on many adventures throughout the Northwest. Their daughter, Kimberly, was born in Olympia in 1985 and was Leonard's greatest joy. Leonard was full of compassion and deeply concerned about social justice. He did not drive, and never bought retail. He became an expert at finding and selling books and records, and had a magical knack for matching quality items with the people who would most enjoy or benefit from them. He also displayed an incredible generosity to strangers in need. Leonard also was very family- oriented. He had a special place in his heart for his many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, and was a mentor to many young people in Olympia. Recently, he was involved with Last Word Books, and also had volunteered many hours with community service projects such as Books For Prisoners, the Timberland Regional Library book sales, and school projects. Lennie loved nature and spent much of his life outdoors, feeding birds and enjoying the wildlife. He had a good sense of humor, was witty and long-winded, and was a trivia expert, music historian, and movie buff. He did not like mediocrity, selfishness, waste, or cruelty to animals, people, or the environment. He will be remembered as a free spirit and totally brilliant architect of ideas, who had a lot of pride and love for his only daughter, Kimberly. We will miss him greatly. Leonard died on June 20, 2005 as a result of a hit-and-run accident in Olympia. It was Kim's 20th birthday. Leonard is survived by his father, James Walden, of Huntsville, Alabama; brothers, Jimmy and Douglas, and their wives and families, of Alabama; sisters, Carol Jones, and her husband, of the Spokane area, and Darlene McCarty, of Spokane; special friends, Gregg Roellich, Caryn Gayfield, and Peter Edwards; daughter, Kimberly Walden; and wife, Lisa Hornbrook. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kimberly Walden Education Donation Fund at Columbian Bank, 2820 Harrison Avenue, Olympia, Washington, 98502, (360) 357-5800. In Lennie's memory, his friends and family request that everyone please drive safely.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful and lovingly written obit. I had only met Lenny once, but heard many stories about his generous spirit.

Valoise said...

Regards my young friends at Last Word. Sorry to read of Lenny. I suspect I've met him but not sure. My time in iraq is nearing an end & I should be wandering the treets of Oly in weeks myself (with an eye out for careless drivers). I gave away 14 boxes of books here which I hope made a difference to some English-readers in the warzone. The hospital progresses and I had a visit to U of Basrah yesterday (I might wish without the heavily armed escort!)in the interest of peace and good health. I hope business is prosperous-take care of yourselves
Jeff Blackwell