Lyle Edward Leitholt, 79, of Columbus, passed away peacefully on December 7, 2022. Lyle was born in Miles City, Montana on March 15, 1943 to Edward and Rose Leitholt. Growing up as the son of former ranch hands, Lyle’s childhood was shaped by the great open spaces and mountains of the American West, at a time when the rodeo and the last steam trains coexisted with the advent of the rock n roll era. As a teenager, Lyle moved with his family to South Dakota, where he graduated from Aberdeen High School in 1961.
Even as a child, Lyle knew he wanted to make something of his life, and he began by being the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1966 with a degree in Pharmacy. Unable to pursue military service due to medical issues, he began a career with Osco Drug, which would last 32 years. Lyle was a pharmacist, then worked at the Osco corporate offices, and finally found his true calling as a store manager. This career took him all over Illinois and Indiana. It was in Kokomo, Indiana that he met the love of his life, Kathy Lucas, a Columbus native and junior high art teacher. They married in 1974, and she joined him as his career took them to Chicago, then Bloomington, Illinois - where their son Cody was born in 1980 - then to Indianapolis, and finally to Kathy’s native Columbus in 1986. Lyle loved Columbus and would remain there for the rest of his life, retiring from Osco in 1998 after managing the Clover Center store for 12 years.
Retirement in its traditional sense wasn’t going to work for Lyle, and he immediately began his second career as a volunteer. For 17 years, he dedicated much of his time to the Volunteers in Medicine clinic, screening patients for eligibility, helping to establish and run the on-site pharmacy, and filling numerous other roles as both a volunteer and part-time employee. Lyle worked with the most devoted people imaginable at VIM, and many of these became lifelong friends.
Among his many other volunteer efforts, Lyle worked with the First Call for Help program, acted as an Affordable Care Act Navigator, delivered gifts for the Firemen’s Cheer Fund, volunteered for the Bartholomew County Historical Society, and mentored aspiring entrepreneurs through the SCORE Association for over 10 years. Most recently, he contributed greatly to the development of the Evolution Training Center, a facility for firefighters, law enforcement, and other public safety professionals. Lyle was a member of First United Methodist Church, where he was a longtime volunteer for the Hot Meals program.
In addition to his volunteer pursuits, Lyle loved hiking and visited nearly all of the National Parks, his favorites being Glacier and Great Smoky Mountains. He also enjoyed vacationing in Sanibel Island, Florida and earlier in life was an avid skier. He attended almost every Indianapolis 500 for 50 years with the same group of close friends. Lyle was a sports enthusiast and a dedicated Indianapolis Colts fan, he greatly enjoyed fantasy football, and his lawn and garden were a source of pride. He had a true love of learning, and in his 70s resumed his education with history and criminal justice courses at Ivy Tech. More than anything, Lyle got a great deal of enjoyment from other people. He was committed to helping others and was always willing to give back to his community. He dearly loved his family and the many friends that he made through the various organizations and phases of his life. They all truly meant the world to him.
Lyle is survived by his wife, Kathy; their son, Cody and his life partner Samantha Wendel; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents; sisters, Audrey Leitholt, Judy Cavanaugh and Jane Hall; and parents-in-law, Cleo and Mary Lucas, to whom he was like a son.
Per Lyle’s wishes, cremation has taken place and arrangements have been entrusted to Barkes, Weaver & Glick Funeral Home. A public celebration of life will be held on January 14, 2023, at First United Methodist Church in Columbus with a visitation to be held from 9-11a.m., followed by a service at 11a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana or the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund. Lyle’s family would appreciate stories and remembrances, which may be shared at www.barkesweaverglick.com.