The Rev. Dr. Sharon Lee Lehman 1938 - 2024

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Lee Lehman passed away March 18, 2024, at Queens Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii. Sharon Walruff was born January 27, 1938, in Yakima, Washington, the daughter of Richard Nephi Ballard Walruff and Lelah Margaret (Miller) Walruff. She was raised in Portland, Oregon, graduating from Jefferson High School. Sharon attended Oregon State College where, as a freshman, she met and fell in love with senior Melvin Lehman. They were married the same year, and Sharon left college to join Melvin on his Navy adventures.

One of the many places they were stationed was Pearl Harbor on the Island on Oahu, Hawaii. Sharon and Melvin fell in love with Hawaii. They moved their family to Portland and later to a farm in Mcminnville, Oregon, but Hawaii always remained in their hearts.

Sharon loved children. She shined as a mother. When they moved to McMinnville, Sharon and Melvin opened their home to foster children. Many children passed through their home, and Sharon loved every one of them. Sharon was even once named Foster Mother Of The Year.

She began working on completing her education and was able to combine her love of children and her love of Hawaii when the family returned to Hawaii, settling on The Big Island. Sharon received her bachelor's degree in 1985 from the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and immediately began
teaching. She traveled back to Oregon on summer breaks to complete her Master of Science in Education at Western Oregon College in 1989, and continued traveling back to Oregon to complete her PH.D. of Education requirements. She later became interested in theology, completing her PH.D. in Theology.

Throughout her career, Sharon taught Special Education, science, second grade, and served as guidance counselor. She taught at Na'alehu, Kea"au, and Mountain View schools on The Big Island of Hawaii. She loved teaching, and every child she encountered. A beloved teacher, she was
named Hawaii District Teacher of the Year in 1993. She has been listed as a noteworthy special education educator by Marquis Who's Who. As she completed her career, she substitute taught and volunteered at various schools on The Big Island.

Sharon was also an artist. She sang, played the piano, guitar, and numerous other instruments, self-taught and by ear. She loved to paint and began painting in earnest when she and Melvin moved to O'okala. Melvin built her a beautiful studio overlooking the ocean. Recently one of her paintings was on display at the Hawaii State Capitol.

Sharon was preceded in death by her husband in 2023. She is survived by her children, Stanley Lehman of Vanuatu, Sheldon Lehman of Kea'au, Lani Stanturf of McMinnville, Debra Lehman of Wyoming, Crystal McGrath of Kurtistown, Hawaii, and hanai son, Joe Good of Kurtistown. Son Spencer Lehman passed away in 1989. Sharon is also survived by her sister, Riki Renfro of Green Valley, Arizona. Her brother, Richard Garey Walruf, passed away in 2007.

Sharon was incredibly proud of and dearly loved her children's significant others, Sherri Lehman, Joy Sanbuenaventura, Barry Stantuf, and William Ahia. She loved and accepted with open arms many more. She was dearly loved and will be missed by many grandchildren,
great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, hanai family, foster children, students, colleagues, caretakers and friends. Sharon touched the hearts of many and will be forever loved and missed. Sharon is also missed by her faithful dog, EleEle, a loving companion for many years.

A memorial will be held at a later date in Hawaii.


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