Christian John Leinonen, age 56, of Howard Lake, passed away peacefully at home Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.
He was born Feb. 12, 1964, in Minneapolis, to Daniel and Judy (Giertz) Leinonen. Chris was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Buffalo. In 1982, he graduated from Dassel-Cokato High School.
Chris always loved his automobiles, and had numerous “babies” throughout his life, but his pride and joy was his ‘70 Dodge Challenger.
Having met at the Norseman, where he downed copious amounts of coffee, he was united in marriage to Bobbi Kratz, Sept. 23, 1989. Together they had two daughters, Kailee and Brittany, who brought them unbridled love and infinite joy.
Starting out, Chris did farm work, and then transitioned to being a “tire guy” for Cenex. For the majority of his working career, Chris worked as a well-respected and trusted dock supervisor for Quast, which became Vitran, which became Central Transport; he didn’t get the nickname “Smooth/Smoothie” for nothing.
While working at Quast, Chris met Brenda. After doing a lot of behind-the-scenes leg work, Chris convinced Brenda that they should date. After two years, Chris and Brenda planned a trip to Las Vegas, NV, and were united in marriage at the “We’ve Only Just Begun” chapel at the Imperial Palace, Sept. 28, 1998. On this trip, and several others over the years, they saw the sights, rode roller coasters, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Chris will forever be remembered as a loving, funny, mischievous kid at heart. He wasn’t above a dad joke (or several), and always strove to lighten the mood and make others laugh.
He felt most free playing around outside with the guys and his “big boy toys,” be that a snowmobile, motorcycle, four-wheeler, car/truck, or a remote-controlled tank or helicopter.
Chris was an avid NASCAR fan; he and Brenda attended races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darlington, and Michigan.
Perhaps it was destiny, given he shares a birthday with President Lincoln, but Chris was an avid history buff, particularly in the realms of World War II, military ships, and planes. If he wasn’t watching the History Channel, he’d likely have on the SyFy channel, as he loved everything from Ancient Aliens to Star Trek. He subjected Brenda to hours of history channel series, documentaries, and too many sci-fi flicks to name.
Chris’ other delights and hobbies included target shooting, attending Twins games, cruises, saunas (he built one in his basement), and spending time motorcycling and BS’ing with the guys. He loved music, particularly Kiss and Garth Brooks, and he and Brenda attended numerous concerts to see each.
Chris was preceded in death by: his grandparents, Hans and Helen Giertz, and Emil and Rauha Leinonen; father, Daniel Leinonen, and father-in-law, Leland Saxton; aunts and uncles, Marian and Marv Maki, Lloyd Drawert, Ed Groop, Kathy Leinonen, and Ellie Alvey; cousins, Daven Drawert, and Gerald Leinonen.
Chris is survived by: his wife, Brenda; children, Kailee Leinonen-Wright (Will Wright), and Brittany Leinonen (fiancé Noah Lintelman Chapman); mother, Judy (Lee) Anders; brother, Tim; beloved kitty, Xenia; several other relatives, and numerous friends.
A gathering of family and friends took place at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Howard Lake Friday, Nov. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements, www.swansonpeterson.com, 320-543-3401.