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1929 Evelyn 2024

Evelyn Jane Lehman

January 17, 1929 — June 3, 2024

Newton, KS

Evelyn Jane Goering Lehman was born January 17, 1929, at a farm in McPherson County, Kansas, to Adina and Christian B. Goering. She was the youngest of nine children. When she was eight, her father sold the farm and bought one five miles east of Newton, Kansas, so her brothers, who were ready for college, could drive to Bethel College each day. Evelyn attended Sunnyside Grade School and Walton Grade School, graduating from eighth grade there. She attended Newton High School in her freshman year, transferring to Mennonite Bible Academy on the college campus for the remainder of her high school studies. In her senior year, she also enrolled at Bethel as a freshman, graduating from the academy and finishing her freshman year in 1946. She graduated from Bethel College with a music education degree in 1949. While a student at Bethel, she met Ralph Lehman, and they married in June of 1949.

Ralph and Evelyn served as directors of a voluntary service unit at Topeka State Hospital in their first year, and after that, Evelyn taught vocal music in Washington, Kansas grade and high schools. Following that experience, they moved to Denver, Colorado, where Ralph entered graduate school. Their sons, Joseph Michael and Ralph Stephen, were born in Denver. They moved to Portsmouth, Ohio, after Ralph secured a position as clinical director of the state hospital there. Later they moved to Smithville, Ohio, when Ralph was recruited to work at Boy’s Village. Their daughter Christine Ann was born there. Later they moved to Wadsworth, Ohio, when Ralph took a position as director of social services at Summit County Family Services in Akron. Daughter Mary Jolene was born in Wadsworth.

The family moved again in 1968 to the St. Louis area when Ralph became CEO of Edgewood Children’s Center. There, Evelyn embarked on a teaching career and completed graduate studies in early childhood education at Webster University. She taught Kindergarten in the Webster Groves School District for 21 years. During those years, desegregation efforts began, and Evelyn codirected an organization called Bridging the Gap, which recruited public school kindergarten teachers and preschool directors to facilitate the changes. The organization provided parents with lectures on child development curriculum and answered their questions. The lectures were led by professors in early childhood education from local universities. During her 21 years of teaching, she mentored 16 student teachers, many of whom became good friends through the following years.

Evelyn and Ralph retired in 1989. They volunteered at Koinonia Farms in Georgia, travelled abroad to Europe, South America, and Asia, and visited all provinces in Canada and all 50 states. They moved to North Newton in 1992 and enjoyed retirement at Kidron Bethel since 2005. Evelyn volunteered at the Etcetera Shop and Kauffman Museum as well as serving in various capacities at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

Preceding Evelyn in death were her parents; five sisters, Elizabeth Wedel, Amanda Goering, Ann Waltner, Melita Goering, and Luella Stahly; three brothers, Erwin, Eldon, and Jacob Goering; and husband, Ralph. She is survived by her children and their spouses J. Michael and Kathleen Lehman, R. Stephen Lehman and Kathleen Childers, Christine Lehman, and Mary Lehman Neal and Paul Neal, along with 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held June 29, 2024, at the Bethel College Mennonite Church at 11:00 a.m. Please join the family if you are able in celebrating Evelyn’s life. A lunch will be served following the service.

Memorial donations may be made to the Ralph S. & Evelyn (Goering) Lehman Scholarship Fund c/o Bethel College Development Office, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton, KS, 67117, 316-284-5250 or Bethel College Mennonite Church, 2600 College Ave., North Newton, KS, 67117.

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