Dorothy A. Lehman, 75 of Rhinelander, passed away in the care of her family on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, at her home after a lengthy battle with Multiple Sclerosis. She was born on June 20, 1936, in Eau Claire, to William and Esther Smith.
Dorothy’s lifelong journey of faith began through Baptism and Confirmation at Concordia Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. She graduated from Eau Claire Senior High School in 1954 and went on to attend Bethany Lutheran College where she met the love of her life, Douglas Lehman. They were married on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1956, at Concordia Lutheran. Together, they resided in Rhinelander, raising their family and working as business partners in the operation of Lehman Oil Company with Dorothy responsible for the bookkeeping and administrative duties. She was a faithful member of Zion Ev. Lutheran Church where she was a member of the Ladies Guild. She also worked with the students of Zion Lutheran School and assisted with reading and other learning skills. Dorothy had been involved with knitting classes at Nicolet College and enjoyed her hobby through her “sewing club” gatherings. Dorothy was a wonderful and special wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, and friend. Faith, Family, and Friends were the foundations upon which Dorothy built her life. The relationship she shared with her husband, Doug, who served as her primary care-giver, was an inspirational testimony to the power of love and devotion for all those who witnessed this special bond. Friendships were also very important to Dorothy and served as support and strength for her throughout her life. Friends from along the journey, starting in her childhood neighborhood, remained close to her heart until the very end. As a mother, she will be fondly remembered for her tireless effort and support of her childrens’ participation in the Rhinelander Swim Club and High School swimming program. Through her love of cooking and baking, she demonstrated her love time and time again, especially at holiday time with her special creations. Her grandchildren will always fondly recall her tireless efforts to make Christmas extra special and providing them with memories that will last a lifetime. As she dealt with the challenges of her illness, she was a member of the MS Society and a constant supporter of others who were facing the disease; always open to share knowledge from her own experiences. A special pastime, especially as her mobility was limited, was bird watching and viewing their flights from her window brought special peace and joy to her. She also received much comfort in these past few years from her constant pet companion Helsinki (“Stinki” for short) who shared the day by her side. Despite her battle with MS, Dorothy was never one to complain and was always thankful for the many blessings she found in her life each day; especially the blessing of the quality care she received from her husband Doug, and daughter Susan, that enabled her to remain in her home until her passing. Doug, Susan, and the entire family were committed to ensuring that Dorothy could always remain at home, cared for by those who loved her dearly. She will be greatly missed.
Dorothy is survived by her husband, Douglas Lehman of Rhinelander; her daughter, Susan (Dirk) Lammert of Rhinelander; three sons, Mark (Vanessa) Lehman, Timothy (Joy) Lehman, and Steven (Bridget) Lehman all of Rhinelander; her grandchildren, Angela Seberg, Jesse Lehman, Alexandria Lehman, April Lammert, Dirk Lammert Jr., Anne Lehman, Grace Lehman, Carol Anne Lehman, Douglas Lehman, and Jodi Lehman; three great grandchildren, Emma Seberg, Norah Seberg, and David Sprague; two sisters, Carol Jean (Robert) Krause of Rhinelander and Mary Jane (Ronald) Younge of Mankato, MN; a brother, Pastor John Edward (Sandra) Smith of Shawano, WI; her aunt and uncle, Pat and Helen Erickson and family of Eau Claire; many nieces and nephews, in-laws, other relatives, and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, a step-brother, Robert Smith, and aunts and uncles.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, at Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, with Rev. Matthew Schoell officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Carlson Funeral Home and from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Friday at the church. Entombment will take place in Northland Memorial Mausoleum. The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff of Ministry Hospice, Dr. Steve and Vicki Brooks, and his nurse, Gabe. A memorial will be established in Dorothy’s name for the benefit of Zion Ev. Lutheran Church and School.
(Carlson Funeral Home)