Mr. Sherman W. Lehr of Oakdale, departed this life at the Washington County Hospital Emergency Room in Nashville, on Friday, May 12, 2017 at 3:12 p.m. He had attained the age of 76 years, 1 month and 9 days.
Sherman was born on April 3, 1941 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, the son of Mary (nee Albrecht) and Anton Lehr of Coulterville, and was the youngest of eight siblings (two of whom died in infancy).
In his younger years, Sherman was an outstanding athlete, admired by many and widely regarded as one of the best basketball and baseball players in Southern Illinois. He graduated from Coulterville High School in 1959. Although he was offered dual baseball and basketball scholarships by both McKendree College and Murray State University, he chose instead to serve his country, enlisting in the Marine Corps, where he served from 1959 to 1963. He attained the rank of corporal and was deployed off the coast of Cuba during the Missile Crisis. During his enlistment, Sherman was a member of the Marines’ All Far East teams, playing baseball, football, and boxing. He was also a member of his Marine Corps installation’s Honor Guard.
On January 15, 1966, Sherman married Katherine A. (Thomas) Lehr at the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Coulterville. They had four daughters: Kelley, Kimberly, Valerie and Andrea, all of whom Sherman teased with great regularity. But they all knew he loved them very much.
After leaving the Marines, Sherman worked in the coal mines for 33 years, first at Green Diamond Mine in Marissa, then at Old Ben in Benton, and finally at Captain Mine in Cutler, where he was employed until his retirement in 1998.
Throughout his life, Sherman was an avid outdoorsman with a deep connection to nature and the land. From childhood on, he was indoors as little as possible, preferring instead to spend his time and energy hunting, fishing, or growing things — on his small farm, in his large yard, and in his huge vegetable garden. Even while working seven days a week at the coal mine, he made time for the outdoors. He just skipped sleeping. His woodsy life, sharp mind, and mischievous wit made him a popular and valuable resource for any kid enrolled in Bio I at NCHS, where the quality of one’s leaf collection had a major impact on one’s final grade.
Sherman was a naturally gifted storyteller, and delighted in entertaining friends and family for hours on end with his fine repertoire of oft-told, hilarious, and impeccably crafted tales. He also collected old coins and, most importantly, was one of the greatest and most devoted grandfathers of all time.
Left to mourn his passing are his wife of 51 years, Katherine (Oakdale), daughter Kelley Lehr and significant other John Danos (Portland, Maine), daughter Kimberly Lehr Frazier and husband David (Kentwood, La.), daughter Valerie Lehr and significant other Chris Heggemeier (Nashville), and daughter Andrea Baldwin and husband Brock (Nashville); grandchildren, Nicholas Hagedorn and significant other Cristen Sipes (Silex, Mo.), Claire Foster (Kentwood, La.); Gavin Baldwin (Nashville), and Violet Lehr (Nashville); sister Barbara Deffley and Husband Harry (Gaithersburg, Md.); sister Marilyn Falk and husband Phillip (Decherd, Tenn.); sister-in-law Marie Lehr (Samuel) (Coulterville); sister-in-law Carla Lehr (Howard) (Coulterville); sister-in-law Cindy (Thomas) Zanders and husband Richard (Coulterville); sister-in-law Carla Thomas (Waterloo); brother-in-law Jimmy Thomas (Sparta); nephews Michael Lehr and wife Susan (Cortez, CO), John Lehr and wife Linda (Coatesville, Pa.), Joseph Lehr and wife Sue (Belleville), Daniel Lehr (Winchester, Va.), Samuel Lehr (Coulterville), Tony Lehr and wife Eve (Coulterville), nephew Greg Deffley and wife Peg (Moorestown, N.J.), Wesley Zanders (Coulterville), and nieces Mary Suzanne (Deffley) Kurfess and late husband Jim (Gambrills, Md.); Sarah (Falk) Hendricks and husband Jerome (Advance, N.C.), Elizabeth (Falk) Burris and late husband Greg (Decherd, Tenn.), Amanda (Falk) Hendershot husband Rich (Danville, Ky.), Mary Jane (Falk) Robinson and husband Austen (Saco, Maine), and Joanna Falk (Los Angeles, Calif.), Jessica (Bozeman) Laudando (Chicago), Katie (Zanders) Keller and husband Joe (Cutler), as well as many great-nieces, great-nephews and friends.
Sherman was preceded in death by his parents, infant siblings John and Joseph Lehr, brothers Samuel Lehr and Howard Lehr, sister Virginia Vancil, nephew Matthew Deffley, and infant niece Georgia Elaine Lehr.
Per the wishes of Sherman and his family, cremation was performed and a celebration of life service will be held at the Elkton Community Church in Elkton, on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 10 A.M. with Rev. Ronald Mazander officiating.
Friends may call at the Elkton Community Church in Elkton on Saturday, May 27, 2017 from 9 A.M. until the service hour.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sherman Lehr Athletic Scholarship Fund and will be accepted by the Campagna Funeral Home, who is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online expressions of sympathy may be made at www.campagnafuneralhomes.com.