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Engines revved in honor

When Mike Lechner recently passed away unexpectedly, his wife Mary Jane knew that she didn’t want to go through a traditional funeral, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of attendants to less than 10.

Instead, she chose to celebrate the life of Mike with a car cruise, and she’s extending an invitation to anyone who wants to relive their time with her late husband.

Mike Lechner. Photo provided

“We both always talked about how we’re not into funerals,” Mary Jane said. “Most of our friends are car people. We thought we could do a short car cruise to honor him and people can come and share their stories about Mike.”

Mike passed away on May 28 at the age of 59 from an unexpected brain bleed. He went to Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Marys Campus-Rochester for emergency surgery, but wasn’t able to pull through.

Mike worked at Crenlo in Rochester for nearly 40 years.

“Everybody’s having a hard time with it because it was so unexpected,” Mary Jane said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from Austin, Stewartville and Rochester.”

The car cruise will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 4.

It will begin and end at Lafayette Park. Mary Jane will be driving one of Mike’s convertibles and their daughter will be driving Mike’s 1972 Nova that he bought in high school.

Mary Jane isn’t sure how many people will show up to the car cruise, but she said all varieties of vehicles are welcome.

The River Rats Car Club has been helpful to the Lechner’s in setting up the cruise and Mary Jane thinks it will be a good day to remember a good man.

“Pretty much everybody liked him,” she said. “He was down to earth and he was big into his family.”

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