AJ Lancaster, 94, died Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Because of COVID-19, private graveside services will be held Monday, Aug. 10, at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Andrew, AJ, Andy, Bud, Dad, Grandpa, a man of many names, was born June 28, 1926 in Franklin. His parents were Benjamin and Ruby Belle Conrow Lancaster. He had four siblings, David, Shirley, Tom and Pearl. He married Ada Reichel on Feb. 1, 1947. They celebrated their 73rd anniversary this past February. He served in World War II and returned safely back home. They had seven children, Linda Lancaster, Dallas (Debby) Lancaster, Patty Lancaster, Debbie Lancaster, Connie (Kevin) Popejoy, Kris (John) Staats and Kenny (Dawn) Lancaster. He had six grandchildren, Ashlee Lancaster, Josh Popejoy, Cole Staats, Cody Lancaster, Morgan Popejoy and Caitlin Staats.

He did physical labor most of his life. He worked for the MKT Railroad, Sears and MU. He then drove cars for Bob McCosh until he officially retired.

He traveled a lot with his family over the years. Anywhere they could camp, they went as a family. He loved the outdoors more than anyone. He hunted a bit and fished. But more than anything, he loved to garden. He would have the prettiest yard for miles. He would spend most of his free time in his yard working to make it perfect. He would wear dress pants and his dress shoes, and sometimes you’d catch him out there in a nice dress shirt, too, working in the dirt. That was his secret to a beautiful yard — he dressed up for them so they would bloom their best blooms for him.

If he wasn’t working in the yard, he was sitting outside listening to the birds and soaking up the sunshine. The man couldn’t get enough sunshine!

He was one of a kind. He was the happiest when he was with his family. He was so proud of his children and spoiled his grandchildren. He was known for his Doublemint gum. He kept Doublemint gum in business all by himself. He was never without gum in his pocket. If you caught him on a good day, he would have Juicy Fruit as a choice of gum, too. Didn’t matter if you were his family or a perfect stranger, he’d offer you a piece of gum. And you had to take it — refusing the gum was not an option. The older he got, his pocket candy turned in to just peppermints. The man had a sweet tooth bigger than anyone. He never turned down candy or any sweet. His family wonders where they get it from; he is the one to blame!

He may have been the quieter one of the bunch, but you knew he was happy when he was with his family. That smile and laugh of his said it all. Not sure what we are going to do with this hole in the family now, but his presence will be missed. I don’t know where we will get our Doublemint gum or peppermints now, but I do know that we will never be able to chew Doublemint gum or eat a peppermint without thinking about him.

Online condolences may be made at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.

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