Former Coroner Marlene Lantz, RIP

The obituary of Marlene Lantz:


Born: January 5, 1947 in Streator, IL
Died: October 5, 2017 in Lafayette, IN

Marlene Lantz

Marlene Ann Lantz, age 70, of Rensselaer, Indiana (formerly of McHenry), passed away on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at IU Health Arnett Hospital in LaFayette, IN.

She was born in Streator, IL on January 5, 1947 to Edward A. Kettmann and Mariette A. Griesmar. She attended St. Mary’s School in Woodstock and graduated from Marian Central Catholic High School in 1965.

After high school, Marlene studied at Elgin Community College and the Milwaukee School of Mortuary Science where she earned her apprentice license as a Funeral Director and an embalmer.

She began working as a morgue and autopsy assistant and received her professional license in 1970 and continued for more than 8 years at Sherman Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, IL and at Wait-Ross-Allanson Funeral Home in Algonquin.

She become Chief Deputy Coroner for McHenry County under Alvin Querhammer in 1980, and 8 years later, ran for Coroner when she began her 24 year career as McHenry County Coroner.

She also served a two week stint as McHenry County Sheriff in 1993 when George Hendle retired and before the County Board appointed his replacement.

She continued her education by taking courses in forensic medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine, Wayne State University and at Northern Illinois University in addition to police science courses at Elgin Community College.

Throughout her career, she was involved in the investigation of multiple homicides, natural deaths, airplane crashes, motor vehicle crashes and suicides.

She was involved in several major murder investigations and was very proud of the positive working relationships she had established with law enforcement officials, rescue and fire personnel, physicians and funeral directors during those years.

She taught at local schools, and out of state colleges & universities about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse.

She conducted mock prom accident re-enactments at local High Schools.

She spent countless hours visiting friends and family members of the deceased and kept in touch with many of them for years after the death of their loved one.

Her investigative curiosity led her to seek out the reason why these deaths occurred and to find ways to prevent such tragedies in the future.

In her spare time, Marlene liked to go “junkin”.

She would travel to Wisconsin or southern Illinois to hit antique stores and “junk shops” to search out new and unusual “treasures” to add to her collections.

She would stop for a burger and a beer and chat with the locals.

She enjoyed reading and watching crime stories with her beloved cats and most recently adopted two kittens, “Sam” & “Otis”.

She liked carpentry, repurposing old items and doing remodeling work on her home and in her yard.

Marlene is survived by her mother, Mariette Wilson, Woodstock; three sisters: Judith Kettmann, McHenry, Karen Wilson (Peter Vantuyl), Captain Cook, Hawaii, Linda (Ray) White, Wonder Lake and a brother, Alan (Fay) Wilson, Woodstock.

She was the cherished aunt of Ben White, Matthew (Meghan Nelson) White, and Hannah Wilson and great aunt of niece, Penelope, born August 13, 2017.

She is preceded in death by her father, Edward Kettmann and her stepfather, Vernon Wilson.

In keeping with her wishes, she donated her body to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

A gathering of friends and family will be held on Sunday, October 15th from noon until 4:00 p.m. at Schneider Leucht Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, Woodstock.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests any donations be made in Marlene’s name to the McHenry County Historical Society or Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Woodstock.


Former Coroner Marlene Lantz, RIP — 6 Comments

  1. Marlene Lantz was one of a kind, may she rest in peace.

    I first met Marlene in 1969, little did I know we would run into each other again, in the 1990’s.

    I pray she found peace.

  2. RIP Marlene.

    Marlene was a great mentor to me and all newly elected coroners in Illinois.

    I sought her advice and expertise on many occasions as a new coroner and truly enjoyed spending time with her at ICMEA conferences.

    She will be missed by many in the coroner community.

  3. Great public servant.
    So sorry for what she went
    through, undeserved.

    Everyone who knew Marlene
    knew she did her very best to
    serve her office and the people
    of McHenry County.

    God knows, too, Marlene
    and welcomes you with open arms….

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