Gordon “Marty” Martin Lenox Jr., age 61, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his family, in his home on Friday, December 15, 2023. Marty was born on February 1, 1962 at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, IL the son of Gordon Sr. & Eva (Haight) Lenox.
These last ten years have defined Marty’s life…a war, not just a battle…with a cancer called Chordoma. When we learned about this bone cancer I remember two things: it is diagnosed in 1 in every million people; a rare cancer for which there were no treatment options except surgery and radiation. The second thing I remember was an average survival of 7 years. If you know Marty, this now became a challenge…he was going to beat this and survive much longer. Many challenging surgeries, a lot of radiation, a non-healing wound, some trial drugs. And now, here we are.
Please take a pause.
Please choose to know and remember Marty NOT by these last years, but also those before cancer.
Remember just his physical presence in the room. Broad shoulders, all that dark hair and those tinted glasses, a very quiet or a very commanding voice, all muscle and stronger in so many ways than all of us.
Remember his love for children…not just his own, but all of them. We had times when eating at a restaurant or while out shopping that he entertained and made them laugh as the parents watched or ate quietly and cherished a moment of peace. He never hesitated to get down on the floor at the kids and the grandbabies level and play, color, just chatter and there was always a bit of a lesson...colors, numbers, how something works.
Remember his jokes and stories…he was very good at embellishing the tale, and the next time you heard it the punch line was the same but the story a little different. His goal while hospitalized was to tell each person coming in the room a different joke…we had to remind him to check his audience…because if you know Marty the language wasn’t always what he used at church! He loved to spend time in the Shop. His own space, full of his life and his tools and family and friends just gathering to have Marty’s guidance while fixing their vehicle, have graduation parties and holiday celebrations or simply sit and share and ponder life.
Remember the man who could make or fix anything. He was so physically strong, had knowledge over a lifetime, all the tools and more than one of some, common sense, great helpers. He and his dad built farm equipment, created furniture and did woodworking, metal work and there is a lot of repair work when one farms. Whatever creations they made they left their mark with the painted initials they shared, GML, along with the date.
Remember the challenge he took on with his cancer…but let that memory take on its own meaning that was more than cancer. He fought hard, fought long and endured so much pain. But he is whole again and heaven opened its gates for him. We will miss him but he will always be all around us.
Marty is preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived and dearly missed by his wife Marjorie of Byron, IL; children Amanda (Marcus Blocker) Archer of Winnebago, IL, Nicholas (Angie) Severson of Harrison,IL, Carissa (Doug) Johnson of Stafford, VA, Kylie Lenox of Byron, IL; siblings Cynthia Lenox of Winnebago, IL, Mindy (John) Stadel of Rockford, IL, Matthew (Amy) Lenox of Pecatonica, IL, Mark Lenox of Winnebago, IL; grandchildren, Kennedy (Jacob), Alyssa, Owen, Olivia, Miley, and Jessie; nephews, Gacob (Hannah) Lenox and Elijah (Becca) Lenox; and his dog and shop buddy, Remmi.
There will be a visitation held on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Farrell Holland Gale Funeral Home of Byron, IL. Another visitation will take place just prior to the funeral services on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at Middle Creek Church from 11:00 am to the time of the service at 12:00pm Funeral services will be held in his honor on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 beginning at 12:00pm at Middle Creek Church in Winnebago, IL. Marty’s earthly remains are to be laid to rest in Winnebago Cemetery.
Memorials are established for the Chordoma Foundation for continuing research or in his name to be used for a scholarship for a Byron High School student who is part of the band.