Obituary of Donald Lehman
September 11th, 1952 - February 20th, 2023
It is with great sadness and heartfelt sincerity that I announce the passing of my father; a caring husband, loving caretaker, and a man wiser than many I have ever known.
Donald R. Lehman was born in Arlington, Virginia to Russell Lehman and Katherine McNamara on September 11th, 1952. He grew up there alongside his brothers and sisters Linda, Russell and David.
While living in Louisville, Colorado in 1986, he met and later married Carol Reitz. The two would go on to start and run a pet shop together, Fish and Chirps, in Longmont from 1988 to 1990. They had one child together, Stephen, whom he loved greatly.
Don went on to complete his Journeyman license in plumbing, proceeding to work on such projects as Colorado University in Boulder, Colorado. However, Don’s true passion was falconry and aviculture; a love which he pursued his entire life. Don’s passion for birds of prey flourished in his 20s and 30s, where he trained and housed dozens of exotic birds; becoming a skilled falconer. Along with partaking in freelance rescue and rehabilitation of endangered birds wherever they were found, Don had a profound passion for animals of all kinds, and would jump at the chance to share information and interesting facts with whoever would listen.
Don’s love for animals extended into reptilians and amphibians as well. He was often known to curate a “zoo” of sorts in whatever house he lived, on account of the many exotic pets he would keep. Don would often attend elementary and secondary school events, where he would bring in interesting specimens such as iguanas, falcons and other exciting creatures to enrapture and interest his young audiences. Don spent much of his life expressing his passion for animals; a passion that was passed on to many.
His mind never far from the possibilities of life, Don was also an avid fan of science fiction stories. His extensive collection of books and stories was passed down to his son, who inherited his fictional interests as well. From Star Trek to Dune, his love of science fiction colored, or rather highlighted, his personal philosophy as well. Don believed that the future held many possibilities and opportunities for humankind to move beyond the misunderstandings and constraints of current times, and fiction often provided him an opportunity to glimpse at what progress humanity could make, given time and understanding.
Don was possessed of an uncommon spark for life that often spread to those around him. Even in his darkest moments, Don would often be the most positive one in the room. Don’s disposition was never far from telling a joke or using his wit to bring some of his personal levity to whatever situation he was in. To the very last, he stayed a positive and optimistic soul that served to bring some light to everyone who met him, even for just a moment.
He is survived by his older siblings Linda and Russell; his son, Stephen and ex-wife, Carol.
The family has chosen to cremate Don’s remains privately, which they will honor in their own way. Don’s ashes will be spread, as he requested, back into the vastness of nature that he loved so passionately.