Lonnie was born in Savoy, Arkansas in 1945 to the late Roland and Grace Blanche Luther. Lonnie is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mina Luther, and their children: daughter, Lonette (Charles) Solis of Reston, Virginia, daughter Margaret (Shawn) Zimmerman of Adamstown, Maryland, son, Londell (Erin) Luther and daughter, Marla (Andrew) Keller both of Damascus, Maryland. His thirteen grandchildren were his pride and joy. They are - Trinity, Spartan, Valor, Titan, and Arabella Solis, Rachel, Abby, and Chase Zimmerman, Lily, Jake, and Ben Luther, and Hannah and Grace Keller. In addition, he is survived by his older brother Alvin (Nancy) Luther of Savoy, Arkansas, younger sister Rola Elizabeth Nichols of Chula Vista, California, sister-in-law Marilyn Weyl of Lincoln, Arkansas, along with many nieces and nephews. Lonnie was predeceased by brothers-in-law Thomas Nichols & Herbert Weyl.
Lonnie spent his childhood in Savoy, Arkansas on the family farm which raised beef and poultry. He went on to study at the University of Arkansas, and then earned a Ph.D. in Poultry Nutrition from Texas A&M. Lonnie and Mina relocated to the Washington D.C. area in 1974 when Lonnie accepted a position with the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine, where he spent his career dedicated to approving animal drugs for 37 years.
Outside of his profession, Lonnie was best known for his warmth and generosity, beautiful tenor singing voice and love of farming. He was frequently asked to sing solos at their church home, First Baptist Church of Damascus, where he directed music and children’s choirs, taught Sunday School and served as a deacon. One of his most favorite places to be on his tractor, especially in the summertime, making hay on L&M Farm.
When Lonnie wasn’t tending cattle or farming, he dedicated much time to the preservation of agriculture through volunteer service in several organizations, namely: Montgomery County and State of Maryland Farm Bureaus, Farmer’s Clubs, Montgomery County 4-H Program, The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair and the Damascus Community Fair. At the fair, Lonnie was a familiar smile at the Poultry Barn where he enjoyed educating and showcasing his 40+ breeds of chickens.
4-H was always an integral part of Lonnie’s life. He served as 4-H Club President, represented the University and State of Arkansas on the Poultry judging team, attended National 4-H Congress and traveled to Finland as part of IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) where he spent 6-months learning about agriculture. He and Mina helped all their children show cattle and fully engaged in 4-H projects from baking, gardening, and sewing, to public speaking and livestock judging. Lonnie was pleased that many of his grandchildren have those same interests too.
The family will receive friends at the Molesworth-Williams Funeral Home, 26401 Ridge Road, Damascus, Maryland 20872, on Monday, August 21, 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00p.m.
Funeral services will be held at Frederick Church of the Brethren, 201 Fairview Ave Frederick, Maryland, on Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00am, with a music prelude to begin at 9:30am, followed by a time of food and fellowship until 2pm at which time the family will leave for interment. Interment will be held at Providence United Methodist Church Cemetery, Kemptown, MD.