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Narrator deeply loved music, art, local sports

| Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

As the voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Ray Lehman often took his son Robert to the Saturday afternoon interviews he did with guest performers.

“It was the who's who of classical musicians,” said Robert Lehman, an organist and conductor in St. Louis. “I'm sure that helped shape me.”

Raymond W. Lehman, formerly of Glenshaw, died of Alzheimer's disease on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Good Samaritan Hospice in Cabot, Butler County. He was 87.

Mr. Lehman was heard for 42 years on various radio stations and as narrator of films for some of America's largest corporations. An advocate of classical music, he was the on-air voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for almost three decades, from the 1950s until 1974, when he retired.

Mr. Lehman, who once told his son that he “could absolutely not live without music,” did not play an instrument.

“He was the music appreciator par excellence,” Robert Lehman said. In addition to classical music, he was a fan of the Big Band Era.

There was always music in the Lehman house, said his daughter, Ruth Van De Carr of Seattle, who took up piano and guitar. She still plays and sings “at the local wine shop.”

“My lifelong love with music started with my dad,” she said. “I feel fortunate. ... A lot of people never get that exposure.”

Mr. Lehman was a prolific calligrapher, something his family believes was fostered by his exposure at a young age to art and the people who made it.

“He lived next door to an artist as a boy and later got a job as a messenger for an art studio,” said his wife of 58 years, Betty Jane Lehman.

In addition to his love for the symphony, Mr. Lehman was a loyal Pirates and Steelers fan. He often took his son to games at Forbes Field.

“Because he was in the press, we always sat behind home plate with the Pirates' wives,” Robert Lehman said.

Mr. Lehman believed a major city should have a symphony and sports teams, his daughter said.

“It elevated the city,” she said. “He suffered when the Pirates weren't doing so good.”

In addition to his wife, Betty Jane, and children, Robert and Ruth, Mr. Lehman is survived by two grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Elfinwild Presbyterian Church, 3200 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw. Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, Aspinwall, is in charge of arrangements.

Donations in his memory may be made to Elfinwild Presbyterian Church or to Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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