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Thomas F. Lehmier
90, vet, honored Boy Scout leader
Thomas F. (Tom) Lehmier, 90, died peacefully Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in his home. He was the devoted husband of Mary Kelly Lehmier, who died in 2010. They were married for 60 years.
Tom was born Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1923, in Carrolltown (Cambria County), the son of the late Cletus M. and Dorothy James Lehmier.
Tom joined Boy Scout Troop 72, Bakerton, in 1935, and became an Eagle Scout in 1940. He became scoutmaster of the troop after WWII. In 1948 he joined the professional staff of the Boy Scouts of America in the Admiral R.E. Peary Council in Johnstown. He also served in the Aloha Council, Hawaii; the National Capital Area Council in Washington, D.C.; the Allegheny Council, Pittsburgh; then became Scout Executive of the former Lancaster County Council from August 1963, until his retirement from the Lancaster-Lebanon Council in 1987. He oversaw the development of the J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation. Lehmier served on the staff of four National Scout Jamborees. He was a pioneer in the development of the Wood Badge training courses and served on 18 courses nationwide. He organized Troop 142 at St. James R.C. Church in Lititz, and was its scoutmaster for 25 years. He remained active in the leadership of the troop until his recent illness, and it was one of the greatest joys of his life to see over 120 scouts in Troop 142 attain the rank of Eagle Scout. He served three terms as chair of the Harrisburg Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting, and for many years served on the Inner Council of the local TBT.
Tom enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1942. He graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.; from communications school at Camp Lejeune, N.C. as a signalman; and from advanced amphibious training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He received jungle training at New Caledonia in the South Pacific. He went from there to Guadalcanal; Bougainville; Guam; and Okinawa on D-Day, April 1, 1945. His final stop was Tientsin, North China, for occupation duty as a high-speed radio operator. After his discharge in 1945, he enrolled at St. Francis College in Loretto and graduated with a BA in Education in 1948. He then began his career in professional Scouting.
Tom was a member of the Lancaster Rotary Club from 1964 to 1988. In 1973 he was awarded the Lancaster Rotary Club’s Community Service Award. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting, Region 3, presented Tom with the St. George Award in 1977. The Lititz Area Jaycees awarded its Distinguished Service Award to him in 1991. In 1999 the Penn Sertoma Club presented Lehmier with its Service to Mankind Award. He was a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association. In 1994 the PA Dutch Council BSA presented him with the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to youth. In June 2010, the PA Dutch Council inducted Tom into their 100th Anniversary Hall of Leadership for his dedication and service to the youth of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. Also in June 2010 The Lancaster New Era presented him with its Red Rose Award, and in July, 2010 he was named Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July Parade in Lititz, in honor of his 75 years in Scouting.
A very active member of St. James R.C. Church, Lititz, he served on two building committees and 14 years on the parish council, including two terms as its chair. For many years he was in charge of the lector and altar server programs. He was a catechist for many years until his recent illness, preparing students for Confirmation, and serving as a substitute teacher as needed.
Tom is survived by his daughters: Malia, wife of Dan Dillard, Bethlehem and Jane, wife of Ken Laager, Lititz and twin sons: Ted, husband of Cheryl, Lititz and Tim, Lititz; 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by two brothers: James, of Denver and Lawrence of New Castle. He was preceded in death by two sisters: Louise Dowey and Eileen Jacko and his grandson: Carl Lehmier.
Tom will be lovingly remembered by all those whose lives he touched, both for his passionate love of God, family and Scouting, and for his remarkable ability to make everyone feel special.
Friends and family are invited to the St. James Catholic Church, 505 Woodcrest Ave., Lititz, Nov. 15, for a viewing from 2 to 5 p.m. The Rosary will be recited at 6:45 p.m., with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 7 p.m. Burial will be in St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Lancaster Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. Military Honors will be accorded by the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard.
Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to Boy Scout Troop 142, 505 Woodcrest Avenue, Lititz, PA. To send online condolences to the family, visit richardheiseyfuneralhome.com.