RANGELEY, LOS ANGELES and HAMPDEN - On March 26, 2010, "Penny" Helen Mitchell Lehman, 70, beloved wife of husband Bernie Lehman, suffered a sudden, unwitnessed cardiac arrest and Friday, April 2, 2010, surrounded by her husband, brother and sister-in-law, and superlative EMMC, supportive medical staff, passed away at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Penny was born June 9, 1939, in Farmington, daughter of the late Geneva and Coleman W. Mitchell and raised in Rangeley. She attended and graduated from Rangeley High School, Class of 1957. She then worked her way through college, attending and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, 1962, from the University of Maine, Orono.
After graduation Penny was employed as a juvenile probation officer with the state of Connecticut. She was later recruited by the American National Red Cross and assigned as a social worker, service to military hospitals at Valley Forge (Army) General Hospital, Phoenixville, Pa. It was here she did multifaceted professional social work with returning U.S. military Vietnam veterans.
Penny met her husband at Valley Forge General Hospital. She married in Phoenixville, Pa., November 1968, was granted transfer to American Red Cross Los Angeles, and relocated to Los Angeles, her husband's home. Penny, a member of the National Association of Social Workers, devoted the majority of her professional career to the American Red Cross. She worked as a social worker for American Red Cross Service to Military Families and Veterans. She was then appointed supervisor, American Red Cross Emergency Services, Valley District, Los Angeles. She spent 28 years with the American Red Cross, assuming other key positions linked with the American Red Cross, such as specialist, Veterans Affairs and then a managerial position as field director, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon retirement from the American Red Cross, Penny assumed position with the state of California Department of Aging as regional manager, Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Penny loved working with geriatric programs and having personal contact with seniors. As Ombudsman, Penny made great strides in accomplishing critically needed betterments in the arena of geriatric assisted living care. Penny proudly respected being the recipient of awards presented to her on occasions in recognition of her contributions and accomplishments to the community from such entities as the city of Los Angeles. After 38 years in Los Angeles, in-spite of heart-felt hardship leaving friends and family behind, Penny wanted to return to her true homeland: the state of Maine. This she did, with her husband in July 2007, settling into a cottage, which she loved at the beautiful active senior citizen campus of Avalon Village, Hampden. Penny met, made and loved many wonderful caring friends at Avalon Village and surrounding areas. Penny was thrilled to be in Maine, and so excited to be close to her new friends, re