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Dr. John McDavid Lehman Jr.

Emeritus Music Director

John McDavid Lehman Jr. was born March 29, 1947 to Ouida Pruitt Lehman

and John McDavid Lehman Sr. A true talent from a young age, his Aunt Ursula,

Uncle L’Ouverture [“Lobie”] and mother were instrumental in introducing John

to the arts and encouraging his development. John began taking piano lessons

during his elementary school years from Bernice Lawson, a distinguished pianist and teacher in the Los Angeles-area, who identified her pupil as having perfect pitch. Throughout the years, he learned to play the clarinet and violin, taught himself to play the pipe organ, and dabbled in numerous other instruments.


A second-generation Angeleno, he attended Los Angeles High School with his brother Paul. Just 11 months between them, the Lehman brothers were close and ran in the same circles, proving to be popular in their own right due to their humor, talents and good looks. During his time at L.A. High, Johnny was selected to be a member of the esteemed Acapela Choir, known for being among the best in the city.


After high school John took classes at Los Angeles City College and University of California, Los Angeles but eventually chose to follow his passion for music. He went on to have a lifelong career as a professional musician. Over decades in the industry he worked as a singer, composer and arranger for names like Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, The Carpenters, Nancy Wilson, Kris Kristofferson, Shirley Bassey, David Foster, Herbie Hancock, Nancy Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Jackson, to name a few. As a member of the Jimmy Joyce Singers, he appeared on television regularly, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Red Skelton Show, The Carol Burnett Show and This Is Tom Jones. He also performed on a number of motion picture scores, including Apocalypse Now, Amistad, The Abyss, Father of the Bride, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, among others. John became a SAG-AFTRA member in 1968 and achieved Life Membership status with Professional Musicians Local 47.


For many years, John served as musical director with Avenues of Christmas, working with W.L.S.I., Inc., and provided his talents for special events at Tom Bradley Elementary School (formerly Dublin) and various soloists and churches around the city of Los Angeles. In 1995, John served as musical director and helped arrange pieces for an original musical drama by Beth Eichel and Dr. Louise Midget titled “Porches.” More recently he joined harpist Radha Botofasina on an album called The Spirituals, for which they traveled to Warsaw, Poland to teach workshops on the African-American Spirituals, of which he could perform on both piano and organ.


On August 23, 1968, John married Carolyn Ann Lee, a beauty from Cotton Plant, Arkansas after the two met at Southwest Presbyterian Church. Young and in love and needing to support a family, John became the musical director and organist for St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles in 1978, a church with deep family roots founded by John’s great-grandfather, Pastor John McDavid. From their union, they had two children: son John McDavid “Davey” Lehman III and daughter Leigh Carole Lehman. John’s deep love and abiding faith in God came through in his silky voice and skilled keystrokes every Sunday morning. A regular bible study attendee, John was quick to share of his love of Christ and fellowship at St. Paul. Over his forty-plus tenure at the church, John missed only a few Sundays. Never taking a vacation or a sick day, until in his final weeks on earth.


Seldom seen without his clipboard, he loved to keep himself intellectually challenged, whether crossword puzzles, the daily Jumble, a chess game or a Rubik’s Cube – and according to his brother Paul, “he was one of the few he knew to solve the cube.” He loved encouraging young people and would never shy away from an opportunity to mentor. Over many years at Dublin, he oversaw the Chess Club, tutored students in math and co-created and recorded the “Multiplication Rap Tape” to help educate and inspire youth to love math. Always quick with a joke, John didn’t hold back on his observations of the everyday or the world. One of the highlights of his life came in 2009, when the Board of Regents of Concordia University Irvine unanimously voted to bestow the Doctor of Letters degree upon John, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of arts and sciences in other scholarly research and writings.


Dr. John McDavid Lehman Jr. joined his heavenly father and parents after a long battle with cancer February 17, 2017. John is survived by his wife Carolyn, children John and Leigh, brother Paul C and sister-in-law Luz, nephew George and grand-nephew George Jr., sister- and brother-in-law Shirley and Floyd Chapman, brother-in-law R.S. Faggett, sister-in-law Mable Mitchell, Aunt Mary Burns, Aunt Jeraldine Lehman, numerous cousins and a host of extended family and friends. The family wishes to express special thanks to Paula Brown and Denise Orso who were great sources of strength and help to “Cousin Johnny” throughout his illness. Additional thanks to his neighbors on Wellington Rd., St. Paul family and dear friend Herman Schultz and wife Mary.


Donations can be directed in honor of John to the Prostate Cancer Foundation,

The Celebration of the Life of Dr. John McDavid Lehman Jr.


Born March 29, 1947

Baptized into the Faith Through Holy Baptism

Confirmed in the Christian Faith

Born into Heaven February 17, 2017


Saturday, February 25, 2017 | 11a.m.

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church

3901 W. Adams Blvd

Los Angeles, CA  90018


Prelude                                                                          Rev Dennis Gano, University Lutheran Chapel, UCLA



Processional Verses                                                                                              Psalm 23, Psalm 90, Psalm 121



We make our beginning in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Welcome, Opening Prayer                                                                                          Rev. Dr. S T Williams Jr.


Scripture Reading                                                                                                                              Ecclesiastes 3                                                                       Rev. Reginald Ragland, Knox Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles


Choir Selections                                                      

                                                                                                                      “Magnify the Lord,” St. Paul Choir

                                                                                                                   “Order My Steps,” Jujuanna Tolbert


Scripture Reading                                                                                                                       Revelation 7:9-17

                                                                                                                                                Dr. Raphael Johnson



Solo Selection                                                                                             “Total Praise,” Mrs. Carmen Roberts


Scripture Reading                                                                                                                              John 14:1-14                                                                                                                                                    Ms. Lillian Lehman


Solo Selection                                                                                 “Here’s One,” Ms. Radha Botofasina-Reyes




Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President,

Pacific Southwest District- Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

     Dr. Raphael Johnson, President, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church

   Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray, Executive Director, Black Ministry-Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

     Ms. Telecia Slack, Pastor Williams Family Representative


We invite you to read the obituary at your leisure as you reflect on the individual and collective relationship you had with “Johnny.”



Musical Tribute


                                                                                                                              “Father God,” St Paul Choir

                                                                                                               “Come Ye Disconsolate,” Lori Cooper

                                                                                                         “I Just Can’t Give Up Now,” Julia Wade

                                                                                                               “People Get Ready,” Earl Jackson

                                                                           “I Love You Lord,” Michael & Dawn Norfleet

                                                                        “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” Shirley Banks

                                                       “You Are Worthy,” Earl Jackson and Cammie Burkhatdt

                                                      “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Frank and Kim Jackson

                      “Overtime I Feel the Spirit,” Radha Botofasina-Reyes, Carole Raines-Brown



Eulogy                                                                                      “A Faithful Servant,” Rev. Dr. S T Williams Jr.


The Prayers

Unison: Almighty God, by the death of your Son, Jesus Christ you destroyed death, by His rest in the tomb you sanctified the graves of your Saints, and by His glorious resurrection you brought life and immortality to light so that all who die in Him abide in peace and hope. Receive our thanks for the victory over death and the grave, which He won for John Lehman and all of us. Keep us in everlasting fellowship with all that wait for Him on earth and with all in heaven who are with Him who is the resurrection and the life, Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and King. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer (sung)                                                                                      Lay Minister Frank Matthews


The Benediction                                                                                                               Rev. Reginald Ragland

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Choir Selection                                                                                              “Goin’ Up Yonder,” St. Paul Choir


Postlude                                                                                                                                       Rev. Dennis Gano


Celebration selection for departure                                                                          “My Way,” Frank Sinatra


God Saw You Getting Tired

God saw you getting tired

And a cure was not to be

So he put His arms around you

And whispered "Come to me."


With tearful eyes we watched you

As you slowly slipped away

And though we loved you dearly

We couldn't make you stay.


Your golden heart stopped beating

Your tired hands put to rest

God broke our hearts to prove to us

He only takes the best.


- Frances and Kathleen Coelho



The family would like to extend their sincerest thanks for your cards, calls, emails, texts, social media messages, food deliveries and personal greetings during this time of loss.  May God’s richest blessings be with you. They would also like to thank today’s guest artists:

Michael Norfleet, Joyce Norfleet, Dawn Norfleet, Kevin Deane, Derek Organ, Romy Geroso, Billy Shephard, Frank and Kim Matthews, Radha Botofasina-Reyes, Van Young, Shirley Banks, Carole Raines-Brown, Nicole Whitney, Tony Geroso and Lonnie Morgan.

Please keep us in your prayers in the days and weeks to come.


The Celebration of Life Reception will be in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service.  For anyone who desires to share 2-min reflections, tributes, or other memorable words, an open mic will be provided.  Please see Pastor Williams to put your name on the list. 


Remains entrusted to Harrison-Ross Mortuary for cremation

4601 South Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 584-1230

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