Herbert M. Lehman
Herbert M. Lehman, an alumnus of the Swain Ski Patrol in New York, who served the National Ski Patrol with distinction for 61 years, died on May 2, 2018, in Silver Spring, MD at the age of 95.
Herb was born February 2, 1923 in Munich Germany, emigrated to America in 1935, lived in New Rochelle, NY, and served in the U.S. Army in Alaska and Japan during World War II and the Korean War. He earned his Bachelor’s degree as a chemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received a Master’s degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University, and worked for many years as an engineer and manager at the Eastman Kodak Com
pany in Rochester, NY. His engineering education and experience guided him through life as a man who was known for his precision in the accomplishment of whatever task was at hand.
Herb began patrolling as a charter member of the Columbia University Outing Club Ski Patrol in 1947 and served concurrently as a Mad River Glen patroller from 1947-49. After moving to Rochester in 1949, he was instrumental in organizing the Burby Hollow ski patrol and was patrol leader until 1954 when the area closed. He then patrolled at Swain until his retirement as a lifetime alumnus in 2008. Herb was granted National Appointment Number 2447 in 1961, was awarded two Yellow Merit Stars, and received NSP Distinguished Service Awards in 1992 and 2006.
Herb served his patrol, section, and region in several capacities. He was treasurer of the Swain Ski Patrol and after his term expired served as the independent auditor of Swain’s patrol finances until his retirement. In addition, Herb demonstrated his teaching skills at Swain, the Genesee Valley Section (later the Genesee Valley Region), and the Western New York Region as an instructor in both the Ski and Toboggan and Outdoor Emergency Care programs. He was an indispensible instructor for five decades at the candidate classes and refreshers. Despite his stature, longevity, and high standards of achievement, there was no more graceful man in dealing with new candidates to help them build their confidence as they developed their skills. Herb was constantly training and encouraging the new blood that revitalizes the patrol and was always the most experienced patroller on the hill that everyone looked up to for advice and counsel.
At the region level he was a standout Senior Ski and Toboggan instructor over many years. Even after he reached his 8th decade, his nickname of “Mr. Toboggan” continued each year as the younger p
atrollers recognized his superior skill in handling a toboggan as driver or tail roper. He served as a model of precision to all the senior candidates who were privileged to be taught by him and his success in bringing senior S&T candidates through to successful completion of their objectives was well known throughout the region.
In recognition of Herb’s many contributions as an instructor, The Swain Ski Patrol named its Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award the “Herbert Lehman Award” and the Genesee Valley Region soon followed suit so that two eponymous Lehman awards are given out annually. Several of the recipients of the Lehman Awards have gone on to receive the Eastern Division Outstanding Instructor Award, two of them have b
een named National Outstanding Instructor, and one was named National Outstanding Alpine Ski Patroller, cementing Herb’s legacy as a model instructor.
Herb was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Virginia Lehman; and is survived by his sister, Margot Lehman Corneretto, by three children: Carole (Robert) Valliere of Laurel, MD; Ruth (John) VanDusen of Wexford, PA; and Peter (Jennifer) Lehman of Auburn, WA, and 5 grandchildren.
Herb was an extraordinary gentleman who served as a role model to all of us and his fellow patrollers will sorely miss him as both a friend and a colleague.
Swain Ski Patrol Alumnus