Calvin Albert Lehman
August 5, 1925 – July 20, 2020
CALVIN ALBERT LEHMAN August 5, 1925 – July 20, 2020 The torch has been passed; an era has ended. And another Marine has gone home.
On the wings of many prayers, Cal ran peacefully to the arms of his Savior on July 20, 2020. He was born to the late Edmund Glenn and Mildred E. (Hill) Lehman on August 5, 1925 in Zion, Illinois and was just weeks away from his 95th birthday. With supreme pride and dedication, Corporal Lehman served as a Marine in the South Pacific during World War II. In 1946, he married the love of his life, the late Norma W. Liddle also of Zion. They welcomed three daughters, seven grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild who forever will rise to call him blessed: Connie (Pat) Mattera [Barbara (Robert) Georges (Katie and Trevor) and Thomas A. Mattera (deceased)]; Peggy (Eric) Vaudt [Stephanie (Jeremy) Duffney (Jake [Byron]; Anna, Kaitlyn, and Calvin); Charles (Natalie) Vaudt (Logan, Joscelyn, and Haley); Eric Calvin (Meaghan) Hokanson (Zoe); and Ashton (Meg) Vaudt (Taylor Warrick)] and Betty (Vaughn) Lehman Kerstetter (Courteney (Ben) Greenwell). He was preceded in death by his beloved brothers Art (Angie and Anne) and Robert (Lila) and is adored by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Owing to the current limitations on travel and public gatherings, a visitation and Celebration of Life Service is planned for Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 10:30 am at Christ Community Church in Zion, Illinois where he was a lifelong member. All are welcome. Memorials may be made to Camp Zion (a ministry of CCC) 12701 Door Bluff Rd., PO Box 32, Ellison Bay, WI 54210, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital https://www.stjude.org/donate
A tribute to Cal Lehman from his girls Heaven smiled the day Dad was born. God knew that salt and light was coming into the world for a season and that three little girls would be given the best possible example of a Godly father this side of glory. And so it has been. Dad had the gift of faith. We will be forever grateful for the Christian values bestowed on us from parents and grandparents who showed us how to love, trust, and depend on God first so we could persevere through adversity and love others in His name. In his later years, we often found dad reading his Bible and he prayed daily for each family member, those he loved, and for those in authority. He may not have agreed with their politics, but they got prayed for just the same!
Dad had the gift of service. His life can be summed up by the children’s chorus, Jesus, then others, then you. What a wonderful way to spell JOY. He poured his energy into honorable work and gave his time freely in helping those who needed his assistance. Through the years, friends, family, acquaintances and sometimes perfect strangers benefited from his giving spirit. The need didn’t matter. “Can you fix this?” “Refinish that?” My toilet leaks”, “The sink won’t drain”, “I’d really love a fireplace, bookcase, patio…”, “The house so needs painting”, “The renters moved out and the place is a mess”, or “Can you build a fire pit?” “Brick my house?” “Put on a new roof?” Scores of us came to him with our requests and no matter the problem, he always responded. Now, he may have come with 20 year old electrical wire or leftover planks that made a scaffold of highly questionable stability…but he came, nonetheless, and the outcomes of his labors have been spectacular. Because of his outreach and service, he was awarded the Zion Township Community Award in 2010. The work of his hands will endure for generations and people will continue to marvel at his artistry.
We learned from him that freedom isn’t free and that service to country and others is a sacred duty. His proudest accomplishment was his service as a Marine and caps and clothing continued to proclaim his identity with THE CORPS throughout his life. We also learned that the most difficult of circumstances can be redeemed through hard work, innovation, and good humor. Who else but Cal would have built a washing machine out of a 30 gallon barrel in the middle of a war zone just because they needed a better way of doing the laundry?
Dad had the gift of teaching. Not in the traditional sense, perhaps, but in practical, personal ways. He (along with Grandpa and Grandma Lehman) showed us the importance of family stories and traditions passed from generation to generation. It anchored our past, provided meaning to our present, and gave us wings to soar in becoming all that we were meant to be. He modeled the way of righteousness more eloquently than words could ever say and was truly one of the most honest persons we’ve ever known. He had an apprentice with him at almost all times during his 44 year career as a bricklayer and foreman for Caesar Fiocchi Company helping legions of others to perfect their craft. Many family members learned how to do construction or maintain their homes under dad’s tutelage and those lessons are now being passed on to the next generation. One of his frequent comments was, “You know, good can always be made a little better.” He taught us the value of keeping a vow. Times, circumstances, and sickness never caused him to waiver in his devotion to his bride. As mom descended into the oblivion of Alzheimer’s disease, dad walked with her every step of the way as she first lost her memory and then her functionality. She was cherished for who she was, not discarded because she was a burden. Those years were extraordinarily difficult as he cared for mom and Grandma Lehman at the same time. But he did it all without a hint of self-pity, bitterness, or complaint. He clearly lived the commandment to honor thy father and mother so your days may be long upon the earth and was a living testament to the meaning of “in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” We watched and listened, Dad, and learned.
As a child of the depression, Dad had the gift of frugality. He collected, repurposed, and reused almost anything. Doesn’t everyone have enough stone, glass, timbers, paintbrushes, tools, toilet seats and hardware to start a business? Dad’s cache totally filled two garages, a basement and shed to overflowing just in case someone might need something! There was never a sale at Menards or a discarded item on the side of the road that he could pass up! But as much as we joked about his hoarding tendencies, Dad had the gift of generosity. He frequently met the needs of others by opening his heart and wallet without question or judgment to stave off financial disaster or to contribute to kingdom work.
We could fill volumes with memories, words of thanks, and expressions of love. Reflecting back bubbles them to the surface faster than they can be recorded: Parties in the basement, holiday celebrations with both sides of the family, steak on the fireplace, practice shooting down the basement until Peggy’s infamous last shot; snowmobiling through town and into trees…,taking the dogs in the trunk down to Kings to go pheasant hunting; building a house for an Easter chick won from an egg hunt that turned into Julius the rooster; weekends of fun and fishing at the cottage, bringing home a baby turtle from the lake because we wanted it as a pet; trips to Galena to see mom’s relatives (and some of dad’s favorite people), cultivating a garden that yielded massive carrots and so many other good times. Dad was always there at graduations; walked us down the aisle at our weddings and danced up a storm at receptions even up to Ashton’s last year (we’ve got photos!).; We watched with humor as he and mom became avid square dancers and took up canoeing. While dad could have been Daniel Boone fully content in the wilderness, mom was not exactly a camping sort of girl – so those river trips must have been an adventure for them both!
Despite this, we know that all the memories have not been good or happy, but through each moment of disappointment, difficulty, separation, and loss – Dad was also there. Tears could flow freely and whispers of love and encouragement gave us hope that this too would pass and we would ultimately climb out of the valley of despair. We always felt safe and protected. We just knew that nothing could hurt us as long as Dad was there. We had our very own Marine standing guard.
So we are supremely blessed to have had Cal as our Dad or Grandpa. Each memory could fill a chapter chronicling a life so well lived that his children and children’s children arise and call him blessed. Dad taught us that growing older is not to be feared but embraced as a new opportunity to watch and pray. Even when his body started to wear out and frailty became evident, he continued to express his love to us all while longing to go home to heaven. Every day, he still taught us that our lives are not measured by what we have, but by what we give. We may now be orphans, but we will forever be his well-loved children.
Now abideth these three: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love (I Corinthians 13:13). Dad’s legacy is one of unconditional love that will echo through the ages. “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Well-done good and faithful servant!
Celebration of Life
Christ Community Church
Calvin Albert Lehman
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