Leo Conrad Lutz of Lawrence, Kansas died Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas. Mass of Christian Burial will be at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Lawrence, Kansas on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Rosary will be at 9:00 am, followed by Visitation at 9:30 a.m. A private burial will follow at a later date at St. Joseph Cemetery, Olpe, Kansas, where several generations of the Lutz family and many other relatives are also buried.
Leo was born November 24, 1938, Thanksgiving Day, in Emporia, Kansas to Joseph “Joe” and Blema (Snider) Lutz (he from Olpe, Kansas and she from Abilene, Kansas). He married Wilma Lou Larsen of Upland, California on April 11, 1964 in Long Beach, California. She was his lifelong love and best friend.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Wilma; son David Leo Lutz and his wife Angelica of Costa Mesa, California; daughter Laura Ann Elkins and her husband Brad of Sacramento, California; and his sisters Loretta Tonnsen and Mary Ann Hansen.
Leo grew up in Emporia, Kansas and attended Sacred Heart Grade School and then the public schools. In his youth he had many enjoyable times at the family cabin at Lake Kahola in the Flint Hills, was a Cub and Boy Scout where his parents were scout leaders. He attended the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree in California. He enjoyed taking summer vacations to the Colorado Rockies with his family where he developed a fondness for the mountains.
He graduated from Emporia High School in 1957. He then attended Kansas University as a geology major and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. In 1960 he transferred to Long Beach State University in California where he earned a Business Administration Degree. Later he graduated with honors from Pacific Coast Banking School at University of Washington.
He had a professional career in commercial banking with one of the largest banks in California and worked in offices in Long Beach, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno. His banking positions included managing both retail branches and business banking centers. He retired as Vice President in 1994 and then, with his wife, moved to Lawrence, Kansas.
He was active in business and civic organizations, including: Regional Director of California Bankers Association; Founding Director and Officer of the Northern California Chapter of National Association of Accountants; County Chair Multiple Sclerosis Society; Committee Chair of Chambers of Commerce in Stockton and Fresno; Chair of Fresno County University of California Campus Site Selection Committee; Chair of Salvation Army Auxiliary; Trustee of St. Agnes Medical Center Foundation; Trustee and Treasurer of Fresno Art Museum; Member of Fresno State Bulldog Athletic Association; and Member of the Navy League and Fresno Rotary Club. Over the years he was a volunteer in many organizations including United Way, church committees, American Institute of Banking, youth athletics and community activities.
Leo loved fishing in the Sierra Nevada mountain range with his wife and close friends. He also enjoyed boating in the California Delta with family and friends. He loved going with his wife and children on outings, including taking the children water skiing in the foothill and mountain lakes in California. Other hobbies included genealogy and woodworking. Leo and his wife were avid travelers with their travel trailer and visited all the states and many Canadian provinces, including the Maritimes. For several years they wintered in Arizona at RV resorts. Locally, Leo, along with Wilma, participated in the New Generation Society, and was an active member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church and belonged to its Empty Nester Club.
After retirement Leo pursued his passion for the West Coast style of large-format, black-and-white photography. Leo was a premier photographer of this genre, with several solo gallery exhibitions and award-winning photos in the tri-state area. Leo shared his wealth of knowledge through various lectures and was a key designer of Lawrence Art Center’s first photography studio and community dark room. His images are in private and corporate collections. He was a member of Lawrence Photo Alliance and Kansas City’s Society of Contemporary Photographers.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Corpus Christi Church Endowment Foundation or to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W.13th Street, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044.