Venit: He arrived in DatteIn, Germany in the midst of World War II on February 16, 1941 the son of Irmgard and Siegfried Lehmann.
Vidit: On April 21, 1960 he saw the Statue of Liberty for the very first time and fell in love with her. It was a love-at-first-sight that lasted until his final breath.
Vicit: February 12, 2019. He came alone, not knowing anyone in this wonderful country, clutching a cardboard suitcase with all his earthly belongings and $50 to start his biggest adventure ever. His English knowledge was so minimal that he could not order even a simple meal at a restaurant. Being a European-trained chef, he found a job at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York within two days of his arrival. But that was not the adventure he had envisioned.
For three years, interrupted only by short stints of work to provide his living expenses, he traveled around the country visiting beautiful places from the East Coast to the West Coast and from Canada to Mexico.
In 1963, facing the draft, he joined the US Army as a private. It would become his life for over 22 years. He served in Germany where, ironically, he was awarded the Army of Occupation Medal with Berlin clasp.
In 1966, he consummated his love affair with Lady Liberty and became an American citizen.
In 1975, he graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Miami (Florida) with a degree in public administration. In 1976, he met and married his soulmate Nan.
He served two years in Vietnam and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star with “V” for valor and three subsequent awards of the same medal. He also earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. In 1967, he was offered a battlefield commission to second Lieutenant which he eagerly accepted.
After serving in a number of positions throughout the United States and an additional tour in Germany he was assigned as an Intelligence Officer to NATO headquarters in Turkey. He retired from there as a Major in 1985.
During his military career, he attended numerous military schools from the Drill Sergeant Course to the Command and General Staff College; completing each as Honor Graduate or on the Commandant’s Honor List.
In 1986, he accepted an appointment as Town Administrator of the Town of Lexington, South Carolina.
In 1993, he became the Town Administrator for the Town of Ridgeland, South Carolina. He took responsibility for a town that was dying and developed plans and means for its survival by redeveloping the downtown area and creating the visual link between the interstate exit and the town, which told anyone leaving the highway that there was more than a gas station and fast food places to be explored.
He always reminded people that the government has no money except what it extracted from the people. He delivered 15 balance budgets in succession and never asked for a tax increase. For one year he was able to eliminate all property taxes for owner occupied homes.
He developed the Nature Trail and together, with his wife Nan, started the Holiday Festival of Music and Lights which attracted almost 10,000 visitors in its second year.
In 2002, the Municipal Association of South Carolina awarded the Town the Municipal Achievement Award in recognition of its innovative programs and ongoing actions to improve the life of its residents. Prior to that, the Town received the Silver Palmetto Award from the State for making its downtown area accessible to people with physical challenges.
After his retirement from the Town’s service, he and his soulmate moved to Sun City, of which he had said during its start-up, “Nobody will ever live in that swamp.” He participated in many of the clubs, helped found the Friends of Theater of the Lowcountry, volunteered on committees, became a columnist “Sunnyside Up”, wrote a short comedy play “The Meeting”, a novel “A Stranger in Your Midst”, and was working on a second novel “The Pushkin Conspiracy.”
He also contributed to the founding of “Staying Connected”, an organization designed to assist Sun City residents to age in place and enjoy their independence as long as possible.
He fought and conquered four separate cancers: bladder, colon, skin, and prostate.
He is survived by his wife, Nan; two daughters, Lisa (Vogel) and Ellen (Andrews), two granddaughters, Katie (Perkins), Meghan (Vogel) and two great grandchildren, Lydia Wiliston-Goldstein and Scout Lynn Perkins.
His ashes will be interred at Beaufort National Cemetery at 2:00 pm, Friday, February 22, 2019. All veterans and friends are invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, any remembrances (fully tax deductible as permitted by law) may be made to “Staying Connected, Inc.” at PO Box 1281 Bluffton, SC 29910.