Third Member of Extended Lehman Family Dies

Elsie Lehman
Elsie E. Lehman

Elsie E. Lehman, 85, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Feb. 5, 2009 at Oak Lea, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.

She was professor emerita of education. From 1956 to 1988, Miss Lehman taught in EMU’s education department and served as curriculum librarian much of that time.

She was born April 17, 1923 and was the daughter of the late Daniel W. and Ada Neff Lehman and a cousin to Esther K. Lehman and Robert C. Lehman, former EMU faculty members who died within the past week.

Lehman graduated from the former Eastern Mennonite School, received a BS degree from Madison College (now James Madison University) earned an MA degree from George Peabody College for Teachers and an EdS (specialist in education) degree from Vanderbilt University.

She taught 13 years in the Rockingham County public school system, three years at New Danville (PA) Mennonite School and one year at Rehoboth, Ill., while on a sabbatical leave.

She served on the editorial council for development of Foundation Series Sunday school materials of the Mennonite Church, was a regular contributor to "Builder" Christian education magazine and wrote a bi-monthly page for church librarians as well as numerous articles on teaching.

Lehman was a member of the Virginia Educational Media Association, American Forestry Association and a former president of the Church and Synagogue Library Association.

"There’s something uncanny about Elsie, Robert and Esther Lehman all going so close together," said Kathie Weaver Kurtz of Manasses, Va. "Elsie was my first and second cousin once removed – she was my mother’s (Miriam Weaver Lehman) first and second cousin. I knew her well because we lived next door for a number of years, she worked closely with Aunt Esther, she taught me in college and of course we shared many family gatherings.

"Elsie was a double cousin to Esther and Bob," Kurtz noted. "Their fathers were brothers and their mothers first cousins. They grew up in adjoining houses, went to the same elementary school, high school and college, all taught at EMC, Elsie and Esther both went to Peabody College for masters work, taught in the education department and spent the final days of their lives in the same nursing home."

A memorial service was held Feb. 8 at Weavers Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, where Lehman was a member, church librarian and served 12 years as superintendent of the children’s Sunday school department.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Good Samaritan fund at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, 1501 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802.