James was born in Bloomington, Indiana on February 22, 1932, to Herman and Margaret (Douglas) Lehman. Growing up in the echo of the Great Depression and then WWII, he embodied resourcefulness, hard work, kindness and love for his family, friends and his country. A 1951 graduate of Bloomington High School, he served in the US Air Force in the Pacific during the Korean War, training and serving as an aircraft mechanic and flight electrician, working on long range bombers like the B-36 “Peacemaker” on-ground and in-flight, earning National Defense Service and Exemplary Conduct medals. After completing his service, he returned to civilian life to start work for Trans World Airlines as an aircraft mechanic in Kansas City, then Indianapolis. While working for TWA, he took a contract assignment with Ethiopian Airlines (which was fully managed at that time by TWA), managing and training Airline Mechanic Staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1963-1969, and often traveling as part of the airline crew for destination maintenance throughout Northern Africa and Europe. Returning to Indianapolis in 1970, he and his wife Alexandra raised their two children, and while working for TWA for 39 years enjoyed frequent travel taking the family on many trips throughout the world. He enjoyed the opportunity to work on everything mechanical and never needed the services of an auto mechanic or repairman! He loved his time with family and friends, working on his vintage tractors, gardening, spending time on his family farmland and cabin near Bloomington, as well as reading and watching a good mystery. His calm and kind demeanor, always wearing a smile and with a clever sense of humor, were infectious and greatly enriched the lives of everyone who knew him.
James was preceded in death by his father and mother (Herman and Margaret) and his sister Alice Judd. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 56 years Alexandra (Anninos) Lehman of Greenwood, IN, his two children Chrysanthi “Chrysi” (Jay) Adams of Martinsville, IN and Herman (Terri) Lehman of Zionsville, IN, four grandchildren, brother Robert Lehman of Martinsville, IN, and sister Ellen Lamb of Decatur, IL.
There will be a public visitation on Monday December 18th from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm at Flanner Buchanan Funeral Home in Decatur Township- 5463 Kentucky Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46221. Per his wishes, a private family service with military honors will take place the following day, with interment at Maple Hill Cemetery, Plainfield, IN. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider making a donation to the Indy Metropolitan Military Honor Guard at 9702 E. Washington Street, Suite 400-147, Indianapolis, IN 46229 or by clicking HERE