Douglas A. Lehman, age 80 of Rhinelander, died March 31, 2017, at his home, surrounded by family. He was born June 9, 1936 in Rhinelander to Arnold and Margaret (Pelong) Lehman. Doug attended schools in Rhinelander and graduated from Rhinelander High School in 1954. He then married his wife, Dorothy Smith, daughter of William and Esther Smith of Eau Claire.
Even before attending high school, Doug was instrumental in the family business Lehman Oil. At the age of 12, his father was healing from severe heart problems and Doug was forced to run the business by himself. He always had a strong work ethic, and the days usually started early at Onson’s for breakfast with all of the local businessmen. Doug was a very compassionate businessman and it served him well throughout his career as “the man in the oil truck with the yellow dog.” Not only did he have to deal with his father’s sickness but throughout his career there were many challenges like the gas wars, fuel shortages, not to mention forgiveness of debt when he sensed hardship. However in these cases, he preferred to remain anonymous. Through his business, his wife Dorothy managed the responsibility of bookkeeping, as he shared the companionship of his three sons and beloved yellow labs, Misty and Katie.
Doug’s true passion was for his family and his Lord. He was a dedicated member of Zion Lutheran Church in Rhinelander where he attended regularly. Beginning with his baptism and continuing as a student at the church school, Doug served his church as a member of the church council, member of the board of parish education, and in many other capacities over the years. His dedication to the church was shown when during his final years, he was an usher most weeks until he physically could not do it anymore. Doug proudly volunteered at the Rhinelander District Library delivering books for the outreach program and was also a member of the Rhinelander Optimist Club. He just could not do enough for others.
Doug enjoyed many hours spent maintaining the outside area of his home along with a garden and prized raspberry patch. As a son of the Northwoods, he also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and tapping his trees for sap to make maple syrup. Doug would produce his own maple syrup in the “Sugar Shack” which he built with his family and a few close friends. The family is still carrying on the tradition this time of year. He also loved all local and statewide sports teams, whether it was the Hodags, Packers, Badgers, Brewers or Bucks, he loved them all.
Doug is survived by his daughter Susan (Dirk) Lammert of Rhinelander; sons, Mark (Vanessa) Lehman of Rhinelander, Tim (Joy) Lehman of Roseville, Minn., and Steven (Cynthia) Lehman of Rhinelander; grandchildren, Angela, Jesse, Anne, Alexandria, Grace, Carol, Douglas, Jodi, Justin, Regina, David, Lilly, April, and Dirk Jr. ; great-grandchildren, Emma, Norah, Bryce, Mikkel, David, Cole, and Aletta; brother, Dave (Nancy) Lehman of Rhinelander; in- laws Nancy Lehman of Merrill, Carol (Robert) Krause of Rhinelander, John (Sandy) Smith of Shawano and Mary (Ron) Younge of Mankato, Minn.; nieces, nephews, other family, many friends and his dog Helsinki who was a wonderful companion to Doug.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Dorothy, a brother Richard, and an infant sister.
Doug’s family would like to send a special thank you to his daughter Susan for her efforts over the last three years, having moved home to care for her dad. Thanks to the efforts put forth by his loving children, Doug enjoyed his home and his view of Lake Thompson until that view was replaced with that of his wife, Dort and his Savior, Jesus Christ. The family wishes to thank the Rhinelander District Library for their compassion and flexibility shown toward Susan during this challenging stretch. Also, special thanks to Ministry Home Care Hospice and a couple of very special caregivers who know who they are.
Funeral services for Doug will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 11 a.m. at the Carlson Funeral Home with Chaplain Sandy Hamburg officiating. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, April 7 at the Carlson Funeral Home and from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday. Entombment will be in Northland Garden Mausoleum.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests support of a memorial in Doug’s name for the benefit of the Rhinelander District Library and contributions may be directed in care of his family. (Carlson Funeral Home)