H. John Lennon passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on September 18, 2020 at his place of residence in Scarborough, Maine. He is survived by his daughter, Alexandra Lennon Ricks; son, John Christian Lennon; granddaughter, Amelia Erin Ricks; and grandson, Christopher Lennon Ricks. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Jane Ellen Lennon, in 2013.
John was raised in Marion, Indiana by Edna Barney and Harry Lennon. From a very young age, John knew he wanted to be a professional singer. John spent his younger years pursuing this wonderful singing talent leading him to obtain both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Music from Northwestern University. In 1953, while serving in the United States Army, he performed with the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra as principal vocal soloist. He also received two separate Fulbright scholarships to study voice and perform recitals and operas across Europe. In 1957, he married Jane Ellen Flemming. In 1964, John joined the Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University) department faculty where he was the chairman of the Voice Faculty and Co-director of Opera Theatre where he remained until his retirement in 1988. John loved teaching and took great pride in all his talented students even if they were not majoring in vocal performance. His teaching style was exactly the same for every student as he always saw the potential in those that walked through his studio door.
In addition to being a professional operatic singer and teacher, John was an aspiring painter, writer, gardener, researcher of breath work, an avid reader and relished in dog grooming and anything poodle. Over the course of their 56 years of marriage, John and Jane Ellen were proud owners of no less than 6 standard poodles and at one time had raised 12 poodle puppies. They loved attending the local dog shows and even became involved in some dog showing of their own. He never met an animal that he did not fall in love with.
In 2016, John moved to Scarborough, Maine to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He was able to spend many holidays and birthdays together with the children and they will forever cherish the memories made over these last few years.
John enjoyed many friendships over his lifetime, and to encounter John was to be engaged immediately in a story from his many experiences throughout his life. He will be deeply missed by everyone that had the good fortune to experience his wonderful talent, positive insights and his larger than life smile, which he graciously shared with all.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date.