Leon was born May 30‚ 1953‚ in Huron‚ South Dakota‚ to parents Ervan and Violet Lehmen. He was a typical boy who enjoyed playing sports and teasing his six younger sisters. He was a mischievous teenager who had a passion for motorcycles and cars‚ especially his much loved ï57 Chevys.
Leon graduated from high school in Madison‚ South Dakota‚ and later attended South Dakota State University in Brookings. While at SDSU‚ Leon was involved in the ROTC.
After leaving SDSU‚ Leon moved to Sioux Falls‚ where he was hired as a photographer’s assistant. In Sioux Falls‚ Leon met the love of his life‚ Patty Gaspar. Leon and Patty were married on October 8‚ 1977. Father John Murray‚ who had been a mentor‚ friend‚ and major influence in Leon’s life‚ officiated at the ceremony.
Leon and Patty made their home in Dark Canyon‚ just outside Rapid City‚ South Dakota. It was a beautiful setting that allowed Leon to pursue his love of the outdoors. He enjoyed hiking‚ fishing‚ and swimming in the swimming hole in Rapid Creek‚ which ran behind their house.
Leon’s days as a photographer’s assistant opened a new world to him. He became an avid photographer and started his own business‚ Lehmen Photography. Patty sat for hundreds of pictures as Leon tried different camera settings‚ documenting the results of them all. While Leon enjoyed photographing people‚ he was particularly gifted at photographing the outdoors. He traveled all around the Black Hills of South Dakota looking for interesting subjects. An old abandoned house‚ a waterfall‚ or a wagon wheel‚ all were breathtaking when captured in his lens. These photos are a treasured family heirloom today.
Church‚ family‚ and friends were most important to Leon. He gave his life to Christ while still in his teens and was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. He was a devoted husband‚ son‚ brother‚ nephew‚ and friend.
Leon also wanted to serve his community. He joined the local volunteer fire department in 1978.
While responding to a mobile home fire later that year‚ Leon suffered irreparable lung damage. He battled his illness with courage and dignity for 2 _ years before passing away on February 26‚ 1981. Though Leon has been gone many years now‚ he lives on in our wonderful memories of him and the beautiful pictures he left us.