Leonard Kuznia

Leonard Kuznia

Leonard was born June 6, 1935, in Stephen, Minn., a small farming community in the northwest corner of the state.

He was second to the youngest of 12 children born to Bert and Martha Kuznia. Lenny was a typical farm boy — attending country school and pitching in to keep the farm running. He begged his father to let him start driving the tractor in the fields when he was only 10 years old, and he never slowed down after that.

He loved nature and always scanned the horizon for wildlife. After he graduated from high school in Crookston, Minn., he served in the Army. One day, one of the Army cooks got the boot and Lenny was brought in as a replacement. It was there that he began to develop his love of cooking.

When he got out of the Army, he worked as a cook for the Northern Pacific Railroad for 10 years, creating fast and fabulous meals in the cramped dining car kitchen. During this time he met the love of his life, Janet. They were married on May 2, 1964, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Northeast Minneapolis. He left the railroad behind and owned and operated several restaurants, bars and catering operations in the greater Twin Cities area, including JJs, the Forest Laker, the Flare and the Cricket.

He was very proud of his Polish heritage and loved to dance the polka. He was a member of the Polish American Club and the Midwest Polka Association and stayed connected to his childhood friends through the Florian Fruitgrowers Association.

Throughout his life, Leonard loved the Lord, serving others through humble acts of service that almost always centered around food and easy conversation. He loved people and went out of his way to treat everyone he met with dignity and respect. Leonard was an active member of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in North Branch and was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus.

He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and died peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and children. He was 77.

Leonard is survived by wife Janet; son Kevin (Diane); daughters Lisa (Mike) Maksymkiw, Amy (Dan) Schmitz; 13 grandchildren Kyle, Keatan, Maia, John, Sophie, Elizabeth, Hannah, Clare, Teresa, Rose, Philip, John, Peter; brothers Thomas Kuznia, Ralph Kuznia; sisters Theresa Dufault, Barbara Campbell, Dorothy Anderson, Florence Ziemer; numerous nieces and nephews.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, October 31 at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in North Branch. Interment in St. Joseph Cemetery. Arrangements by Grandstrand Funeral Home.

up arrow