Ralph E. Lehman, Whitewater, WI (1922 - 2012)
November 15, 1922- May 18, 2012
Ralph E. Lehman, age 89, passed away peacefully on Friday evening, May 18, 2012, in Fairhaven, in Whitewater, WI. He lived a rich full life, had many good friends and died surrounded by his loving family. Ralph (Bud) was born in Zion, IL, on Nov 15, 1922, to Anna Bertha Lehmann and Edgar Reinhold Lehmann. He attended Kenosha High School, where he distinguished himself in sports, lettering in baseball, basketball and football.
During his high school years and in the years following, he played with the well-known Kenosha "Zippers" men's fastpitch softball team. He was regarded as a very talented catcher by many of the top pitchers in that era.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Ralph enlisted in the Marines, serving in the occupying forces in the Pacific. After four adventure-filled years with the Marines, he returned from the war and attended the Wisconsin State Teachers College (later known as the University of Wisconsin Whitewater) on the GI Bill.. First, however, he enjoyed playing a couple years of semi-pro football with the Kenosha Redskins.
While attending college in Whitewater, Ralph married Isabelle Johnstone in 1949. He graduated in 1951, earning a bachelors degree in education. With his teaching degree, he moved to Union Grove and became the Union Grove High School Science teacher (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) and the boys' sports coach (football, basketball and baseball). Coincident with teaching at Union Grove, he attended the University of Marquette in Milwaukee, and earned a masters degree in education.
In 1962, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater staff as an assistant professor of physics. He taught a variety of physics courses, eventually specializing in teaching the physics aspects of photography. He was often seen in the photography labs on evenings and weekends, tending to the labs and helping students work through their problems with photographic film development. Decades later, ex-students still speak of Ralph's excellent teaching style and infinite patience.
Ralph was a family and community man. He took his family on many outdoor and cross country adventures. He was a good neighbor, often acting as foreman for the many neighborhood projects in the then-new Whitewater Westside subdivision. Many driveways,
sidewalks and patios still bear the initials "REL". He co-founded the Whitewater Meals-On-Wheels program in 1973, and he was seen delivering noon meals for many years. As a Kiwanis Club member, he worked on many city projects. Kiwanis events often brought out the kid in him. Whether he was selling peanuts at the 4th of July parade or working all day at the Kiwanis Pancake Day, he did it with a happy smile on his face.
In 1987, Ralph retired and became a fulltime outdoors man and fisherman. He enjoyed spending time in the many Wisconsin parks, and he loved to fish the waters of the Whitewater area lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago with his friends and family. He enjoyed the calm serenity of being out on the lake, as well as the thrilling excitement when "the big one" bit.
Ralph's last days were spent at Fairhaven, and the Lehman family would like to give their thanks and appreciation to the second floor Fairhaven Staff. They are all truly angels and, they took exceptional care of him.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Anna. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Isabelle; his brother, Jerad W. Lehmann; his children, Jodi Lehman and Tobin Lehman: and his grandchildren: Kari Lehman, Jake Lehman and Jamie Lehman.
In accordance with his wishes, he will be cremated and then buried in the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove, WI. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family has asked that donations be made to the Whitewater Kiwanis Club.
THE NITARDY FUNERAL HOME, Whitewater, WI, is assisting the family, www.nitardyfuneralhome.com