May 8, 1918 - February 26, 2013

Hal Lehman, 94, a 55-year resident of Newport Beach, died peacefully after a long illness, at his Lido Isle home, surrounded by family on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

Hal, the only surviving son of Gladys and Benjamin H. Lehman, was born at home in Boston on May 18, 1918 during the post-WW I flu epidemic. He was basically a life-long Californian, however,  having moved with his family to Berkeley in 1920, when his father joined the University of California faculty as a professor of English. 

Hal’s mother and father were divorced in 1922 and his  mother moved to Los Angeles where she subsequently became a screen writer and was one of the founders of the Screen Writers’ Guild.  As a result of the divorce Hal spent a lot of time on trains between northern and southern California, spending one year with his father in Berkeley and the next with his mother in Toluca Lake.  That arrangement continued until he was 16, when he decided to stay in southern California closer to most of his friends.  Graduating from North Hollywood High, he went on to UC Berkeley  WWII was on the horizon and he joined  the Army in 1940.  A good portion of the next five years were spent in the South Pacific theater.

He met his future wife, Nora (nee McNerney)  through his mother upon his return to Westwood  in 1945.  They were married in San Marino on May 6, 1950.  Settling first in Encino where Hal owned and operated a small specialty market, in Sherman Oaks.  In 1958, he decided  to pursue a career in real estate development and moved the family to Newport Beach.  He partnered with boyhood friend Bill Fisher in building small housing developments and shopping centers in Tustin, Orange, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa.  Other early building partnerships included a young Don Bren.

The Lehman family has always loved to travel, which they did extensively, including cross America driving trips, Mexico, almost every country in Western and Eastern Europe, China at its opening in 1980, New Zealand, where Hal had spent a good many of his WWII years, and Tanzania and Kenya.

A kind, gentle, compassionate soul, Hal loved his friends, but most important to him were family get-togethers - birthdays, holidays and recently the wedding of his first grandchild, Meghan Lehman to Andrew Schoenberger in Santa Barbara in September 2012.

Hal is survived by his wife, Nora of 63 years; two children, Greg Lehman and daughter-in-law,  Marty Tweed Lehman of Pacific Grove; Bridget Lehman Skinner and son-in-law, Blain Skinner of Newport Beach, and four grandchildren, Meghan Schoenberger, Sarah Lehman, and Sam and Joe Skinner.

In lieu of a Memorial Service, gifts in Hal’s name to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, 700 S. Tustin, Orange, CA 92782; the Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660; or the charity of your choice would be most appreciated.

Funeral arrangements were made by: Advantage Funeral & Cremation Services, 627 Main Street, Huntington Beach CA 92648.

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