Leroy Christian “Lee” Birrenkott
February 11, 1925 ~ February 23, 2014
Leroy Christian “Lee” Birrenkott, 89, passed away peacefully at home on February 23, 2014. He was born in Beulah, ND, to Pauline and Christian Birrenkott on February 11, 1925.
Lee and his family moved to Washington State in May of 1941. He attended Dryden High School as a sophomore and later quit to join the Navy in WWII. Lee served as a gunner on LST 817 in the South Pacific. Among other battles, he participated in the invasion of Okinawa and was in service at Bikini Atoll shortly after the war.
Returning home after his Navy discharge, he joined his parents, who had moved to the Tri-Cities area. Lee worked at Hanford for several years and then for Bonneville Power for the remainder of his working life. He married Dorothy Lee in 1949. They moved to Wenatchee, where Dorothy passed away in 1988, after 39 years of marriage.
In 1989, he married June James of Dryden, whom he had briefly dated in high school. They enjoyed their retired life together, taking cruises and cross-country trips during the earlier years of their almost 25-year marriage. After a lifetime of hard work, he would often remark on the pleasures of retirement, such as watching the snow fall without having to go work in it.
Like many of the “Greatest Generation,” Lee knew the hardships of a childhood during the Depression and the self-sacrifice of those young boys who left their farms and towns to fight a war half-way around the world. They saw unspeakable horrors and endured terrible hardships, but returned home to raise families and become the backbone of the greatest years our country has ever known.
Lee is survived by his wife, June Birrenkott of Wenatchee; and son, Gary Birrenkott of Snohomish, WA. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy; and two infant children.
A Memorial Service for Lee will be held at the Dryden Community Church, where he was a member, on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. A funeral dinner sponsored by the church and the Dryden Improvement Club will follow the service.