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Gary Lehmann, mechanical engineering, dies in car accident

Gary Lehmann, 47, associate professor of mechanical en-gineering, was killed in a car accident west of Albany on Thursday, June 23.

“Gary was a re-markably talented and excellent teacher who always had a great interest in students,” said Charles R. Westgate, dean of the Watson School. “He showed it by serving as undergraduate director for mechanical engineering and faculty advisor for our national honor society, Tau Beta Pi.”
Former Watson School dean Lyle Feisel hired Lehmann and credits him with help-ing to shape the engineering programs. “As one of the first — perhaps the first — engineering hires in the Watson School, he contributed a lot to the early formation of our programs,” said Feisel. “He was always so thoughtful and deliberative and you knew that when he said something it would be well reasoned and that he sincerely believed in what he was saying.”

Many who knew Lehmann spoke of his ability to balance his work and home life. “He was an excellent, caring teacher and a productive researcher, as well as a proud father and husband,” said Feisel.

James Pitarresi, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, said the thing that’s most devastating about this is what a loss he is, not only to his family, but to the students who will never have the option of having him as their teacher. “It’s incredible to think that this gifted teacher and scholar is not going to work with the next generation of students,” said Pitarresi. “Society just lost a good guy. He truly was someone that I could look up to and say, ‘I’d like to be like Gary.’”

Colleague Eric Cotts, professor of physics, said Lehmann took joy in the careful attendance to simple tasks, just as he did in developing a set of equations to describe a physical phenomenon. “Gary liked to build one piece at a time, stopping to let things settle and taking the time to see where he was headed,” said Cotts. “This thoroughness, coupled with his keen insight, led him to develop a firm understanding of the things he worked with. His appreciation of simplicity allowed him to convey things clearly; as a teacher and in the models he developed for industry and academe.”

Cotts, and many others, said that Lehmann’s first priority was his family. “Gary liked best to talk about his family. He was always amazed and delighted to have his family and he had the gift of knowing how lucky he was to have them,” said Cotts.

Lehmann earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from Clarkson University and joined the Binghamton faculty in fall 1985. He is survived by his wife, Bruch, his sons, Christopher and David, and his daughter, Katie.

Contributions in Lehmann’s memory may be made to an education fund established for his children, made payable to Kristin B. Lehmann and mailed to HSBC Bank USA, c/o Eli Rabinowitz, 95 Wolf Rd., Albany, N.Y. 12205.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08