John F. Lichtenhan, 87, of Wamego, Kansas, died Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at his home. He was a life-long resident of the community. John was born April 24, 1934, in Wamego, the son of George and Bertha (Riat) Lichtenhan.
He attended St. Bernard’s grade school and graduated from Wamego High School. John was an Eagle Scout and attended National Jamborees in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and Irvine Ranch, California. While in High School, John held the school record for many years in pole vault, vaulting over 11 feet while using a bamboo pole. He then attended Kansas State University and was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. John then served as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne from 1957 until 1960, stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
John was a born entrepreneur. He started working by delivering groceries for candy bars when he was too young to cross the streets, so he limited himself to the houses on his own block. He owned and operated many different businesses; Lichtenhan Excavating, Lichtenhan Plumbing and Heating, Lichtenhan Retail Liquor, The Trade Winds Supper Club, (twice), Guys Tavern, The Office, Ted’s Motel, and the Twistee Freeze, Spruce Street apartments, and the Hilltop Hotel. He also had some success raising hogs and with ostrich/rhea farming.
John served as a Wamego City Commissioner and Mayor from 1986 until 1990. He then served as a Pottawatomie County Commissioner from 1997 until 2001.
He was a great storyteller and enjoyed playing cards and chess. He loved to travel. One of his biggest disappointments was not being able to complete a trip to China due to the Covid Pandemic. John married Ronda Kolterman on August 6, 1960, having just celebrated their 61st anniversary. Ronda survives at their home. John is also survived by his children; John Bradford (Brad) and Lisa Lichtenhan, both of Austin, Texas, Brenda Straub (Bernard), Wamego, Linda Greenberg (Alan), Morristown, New Jersey, Kendra Khoshabe (Steve), South Barrington, Illinois, and Melissa Harris, Nashville, Tennessee; his grandchildren; Eric Straub, John Straub, Nicole Dreiling (Phil), John Daniel, Paul Lichtenhan, Lacy Lichtenhan, Skyler Greenberg, Ally Khoshabe, Abby Khoshabe, and Jonah Khoshabe; and his great-grandchildren, Piper, Axel, Margo, and Greta; his sister, Rosemary Soelter, Topeka. John was preceded in death by his parents.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am, Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Wamego, Kansas. Father Mike Peterson will be the Celebrant. John will lie-in-state beginning at 2:00 pm, on Tuesday, at Campanella & Stewart Funeral Home in Wamego. A Rosary will be held at 6:30 pm, and the family will greet friends until 8:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Friends of the Park c/o Wamego Community Foundation, and those may be left in care of the funeral home at P.O Box 48, Wamego, KS 66547. Online condolences may be made at www.campanellastewart.com.