2/17/25 – 6/24/12
A longtime Roswell resident, Mel Lehrman, died in his home on Sunday, June 24, 2012, at the age of 87. It was a swift and painless passing of a man who had many talents and friends. Private services will be held at a later date when all family members can be present.
He was preceded in death by his parents Fritz and Francis Lehrman; his first wife Evelyn Lehrman; and his second wife Betty Lehrman. He had one brother, Jack Hull, who died last November. He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Gary and Terri, Jerry and Nancy, and Jim and Nina Lehrman. He is also survived by his grandson, Craig Lehrman, M.D., and wife Heather; and granddaughters, Danielle Carter and Alissa Iltis and their husbands, Dee Carter and Shawn Iltis. Mel lived long enough to have two great-granddaughters, Sydni and Ellison Iltis.
Mel was born on a ranch near Howard Creek outside of Crawford, Texas, and grew up on the farmlands around Hermleigh, Texas. He met Evelyn Sasin in the area and married her following his return from World War II.
Mel and Evelyn moved to Roswell in 1953 from Sweetwater, Texas, where he worked for the Ford Motor Co. as a mechanic. Soon after moving to Roswell, he joined the Roswell Police Department as a motorcycle policeman. For several years he was the state champion pistol marksman of New Mexico. He was promoted to lieutenant on the police force prior to going to work for New Mexico Military Institute as a tactical officer. Over the remaining years, he worked for the Chaves County Sherriff’s Office, most, if not all, the car dealerships as the shop manager, and owned his own business, Roswell Armored Transportation & Security. He was an amateur radio operator since the early 1950s, with the call letters K5EJL, and the rating of a first-class electronic engineer. He spent many a nightly hour talking to people around the world before a stroke left him aphasic in 2009. In addition, Mel was an artistic soul, who played multiple instruments, painted Western scenes in oil and made anything and everything out of leather and wood. Many of his projects won first-place ribbons at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair.
Mel was a strong supporter of the Downtown Lions Club for many years. He was presented the secretary award for both 1993-1994 and 2002-2003. He was president of the Downtown Lions Club during 1995-1996. He also was the recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellow Award by the Lions Club International Foundation for “dedicated Humanitarian Service” in 1999-2000.
Next to being an amateur radio operator and Lions Club member, Mel loved the military the most. He was a World War II veteran, having joined the Army as a teenager. He fought in the South Pacific campaign and proudly wore the First Cavalry patch on his shoulder. He was discharged with the rank of first lieutenant. He was promoted to captain at NMMI and later joined the New Mexico State Guard, where he advanced through the ranks and retired as brigadier general. He was able to blend his knowledge of electronics and military science to manage the State Guard communication systems. He loved his country and was proud to serve it.
Mel was a unique person, part John Wayne, part Army officer, part police officer, and part family man. The only death that would have been more appealing to Mel would have been leaving this earth from a blazing gun battle with some bad guys.
Friends and family may offer their condolences online at lagronefuneralchapels.com. Arrangements are under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.