Veteran Education Prof Mourned

A retired long-time member of the education department faculty died Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.

Esther K. Lehman, 85, professor emerita of education at EMU, was a resident of Oak Lea, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, for six years.

Esther K. Lehman, professor emerita of education at EMU

Dr. Lehman joined the EMU faculty in 1951 and retired in 1982. She was a reading and language arts specialist in the education department.

The Harrisonburg native was the daughter of the late Chester K. (C.K.) and Myra Kendig Lehman. Dr. Lehman became EMU’s first dean in 1921 and served in that role until 1956. He also taught Bible courses at EMU and Eastern Mennonite Seminary until his retirement in 1972.

Lehman took an assignment with Mennonite Central Committee, 1982-85, working at the Teacher Training College in Serowe, Botswana. She developed professional courses in methods of teaching reading at the lower levels and supervised field experiences for student teachers as part of her assignment. She earlier spent a sabbatical year, 1972-73, in Ethiopia, supervising EMU students who were combining student teaching with a study year abroad.

She graduated from EMU in 1949 and received MA degrees from George Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn., an MA in Christian education from Wheaton (Ill.) College and a doctorate in education from Syracuse University.

Lehman was a member of Phi Delta Kappa Society, Delta Kappa Gamma Society and the National Education Association. She served as secretary of the Virginia College Reading Association.

“(Aunt) Esther was deeply committed to cross-cultural learning throughout her life,” said Dorothy Jean Weaver, professor of New Testament at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. “Taking students to Africa in the early 1970s and later serving with MCC in Botswana became significant, life-transforming experiences for her.”

Lehman was a member of Mt. Clinton Mennonite Church.

A memorial service will be held Feb. 15 in Strite Auditorium at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Private burial services will be held that morning at Weavers Mennonite cemetery. (UPDATE: the location of the memorial service has been changed to Park View Mennonite Church on Sunday, Feb. 15, 3 p.m. Visitation begins at 1:30 p.m., also at the church.)

Memorial gifts can be made to the “Esther K. Lehman Scholarship Fund” at Eastern Mennonite Seminary to support international students. More information on giving to EMU…