March 2024 Newsletter

“Before we reached

the end of the street…”

A Visit With The Lentzes

By Dale Dauten

Earlier in my career, when I was writing about effective organizations, I came across research on energy flows. There were those who argued that, if you paid enough attention, you could understand the nature of a place just walking in. I thought about that research after walking into the Resort home of Don and Julie Lentz — you step in and you feel a warmth and a cheerful energy. (Photo: Julie and Don on a recent trip to vineyards in California.)
So it wasn’t a big surprise when I later asked my favorite question, the one about the best advice ever gotten or given, and Julie told me that she likes to tell those about to get married, “I hope your kitchen door is wide open.” Asked to expound on that, she explained that she loves having company, especially unexpected company whom she could invite to stay for a meal. And she also pointed out the sign that faces their living room…
Given that spirit of friendliness, it was surprising that Don and Julie, who grew up ten miles apart on farms in North Dakota, didn’t know each other as kids. But Don’s a bit older and his class at his country grade school had just two students – Don and a girl who wasn’t Julie. (Don jokes that one good thing about his school was that he knew he’d finish second in his class.) Despite being just several miles apart, Don’s family lived closer to Rolla and Julie’s to Rolette and so they didn’t cross paths till later. (As for Julie’s schooling, she explained that “If there was a good crop, I went to the Catholic boarding school. If it was a bad crop, I went to public school.”)


The two eventually met when Julie was in high school and her parents dropped her off at the local movie theater while they went to community bingo at the school. By that time, Don had taken over the family farm and his parents were running that very local movie theater, and he’d help out in the evenings. He saw Julie sitting alone and decided to sit beside her. That was their start, and before long they married. This was in spring of Julie’s junior year in high school. She recalled hearing some tsk-tsking around town: “Too young. It’ll never last.” That was 62 years ago.


The young couple moved into the farm house shown in the photo below, the one where Don was born and raised. It was, he tells us, “a Sears and Roebuck house and it came on a railcar.” While those same Sears “Craftsman” houses are much sought-after in Los Angeles, and can go for millions of dollars, the one on the Lentz farm never went up for sale – the Lentz’s eventually moved into Rolla and the old home now is home to a hired man who works the farm and his family of five kids.

The farm house is, however, still located on the family farm: Having been started by Don’s grandfather, Don was third generation, with Don and Julie’s son having taken over, and their granddaughter in line to be fifth generation. Despite having family involved, Don still helps out in the summers. That’s him in the photo below with their latest piece of equipment, their newest tractor. He pointed out that this upcoming season will be his 70th, having started at age 15 when his uncle rented him 160 acres to have his own fields to work.

We never get tired of hearing how people found The Resort. In the case of the Lentz’s, they were staying in Apache Junction and visited friends at The Resort. Don recalled liking the feel of the place and the wide streets. Julie recalled her first impression: “Our friends offered to drive us around and show us the place. It was afternoon, nearly Happy Hour, and people were out and were stopping to say hello. Before we reached the end of the street, there were hors d’oeuvres being passed through the car.”


Don and Julie were hooked and not only have they been coming back for 22 years, they’ve introduced others, with Julie saying, “We’ve probably recruited at least 12 couples from our area and have twenty or more relatives in the park, including our son Doyle and his wife, Kerry.”

Soup, Donate, Repeat


By Dale Dauten


Everyone loves a good soup. And, everyone loves a good cause. So when the two came together in January at The Resort for SOUP EXTRAVAGANZA!, the event netted over a thousand dollars for the folks at the Phoenix Dream Center, an organization working to “stop human trafficking, end childhood hunger and educate tomorrow’s leaders. “


We chatted with Gail Burt on how she and Emily Bloom came to be the organizers of the event: “Emily and I went to a soup function at a church,” Gail explained. It was in support of the Dream Center and we decided to bring something like it to The Resort. We had 15 people volunteer to do a roaster pan full of their favorite soup. We ended up with what amounted to an endless soup buffet. And if you had a favorite soup, you could get a copy of the recipe. Plus, we had desserts that were over the top — three tables worth.”

Gail and Emily capped ticket sales at 100, although they are already contemplating a bigger event for next year.

Elicia Vallejo of the Dream Center came to The Resort in February to receive the donation and stopped for a photo with Gail (left) and Emily (right).
Lastly, Gail wanted to emphasize this: “To all the wonderful Resort cooks and all the volunteers that do the set-up and take-down after the event, thank you so much for doing this. We are looking forward to next year.”


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