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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

William Lehnerd ~ "Uncle Bill" ~ Teacher ~ BHS '48

+ May 27, 2009
We have lost a beloved dramatics teacher and friend.

17 comments:

Susan said...

He was my home room teacher in my senior year on the hill! I thought he was great.
He knew there was smoking in the girls room but never got anyone in trouble for it!

rfharwood said...

He taught me back in the 50s. He will be missed by eveyone who knew him.

Peachy. Just Peachy. said...

I'm not sure I had any English class from him, but he did direct "South Pacific" in which I participated. I did get in trouble with him, or maybe it was my girlfriend, for walking arm in arm through that long entry lounge at the front of the auditorium. He would brook no intimacy! (How times have changed!)
He was also my grandparents paper boy when they lived on Pearl Street.

Anonymous said...

He encouraged me to enter the Voice of Democracy competition. Bob Dandoy and I took first and second place respectively. My love of public speaking was nurtured in his classroom. He leaves a legacy. Linda Heath class of '70 BHS

Anonymous said...

Strict, talented, encouraging, full of puns,good photographer, good director, good lighting man.

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to apologize to Mr Lehnerd for talking with a classmate while in his English Class. For that, I was put in the hall for a time out. I guess I crossed the line. Mr Lehnerd was a strict teacher, but admired by many, including myself.

Anonymous said...

Yes, those are the things that hurt us and still sting the older we get.

Anonymous said...

He was gay- proof that homosexuals can contribute to the greater good of the community.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember Mrs. Syler
who also directed BHS plays? Her
huband John taught math.

Anonymous said...

Hello all, I'm Uncle Bill's niece. The loss of Uncle Bill was great to the community and to my family. It was most especially hard for my sisters and I. Uncle Bill took us under his wings and was more like a grandfather to us (our grandpa was his brother who passed away before we were born). I enjoyed looking through all of your stories about Mr. Lehnerd the school teacher. Even though he retired before I was born, I can relate to your stories because he never truly retired.

There was one comment however that I do not agree with. Some one here made an assumption that Uncle Bill was a homosexual. As Uncle Bill always said if you assume you make an ass out of u and me.

With that being said he was proof that one man could do so much to better the community.

-his loving niece

PS Thank you Mr.Cingolani for including him in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Sorry dear, but your uncle was gay. It is nothing to be ashamed about. There were olenty of gay people active in community affairs. It just wasn't out in the open at the time.

Anonymous said...

Bill Lehnerd was a positive force in our community and who cares if he was gay or straight. It shows was a good man he was with the fact that his great-niece was so fond of him.

Rick Stutz said...

To Anonymous who is ashamed of his or her remarks so he or she won't place their name on their remarks.
I have worked Theatre for years and can attest to the fact that William Lehnerd WAS NOT GAY!

Anonymous said...

Had him as a teacher at BHS. He was just as so many of the teachers there were (and probably still are) - - just there to get a paycheck. He was as enthusiastic of a teacher as the character Ben Stein played on "The Wonder Years". Boring the students to death.

He may have been different with the theatre people and with others in the Butler community, but at BHS he was just one of the teachers who lost his enthusiasm for his job. Not something that should have been displayed to young people.

Anonymous said...

Had him as a teacher in the early 80's. I remember that he smelled horribly, had bad teeth, and you had to cover your nose when he spoke nearby you so as not to smell his bad breath.

Stephanie Lehnerd said...

Thank you Rick Stutz for saying that. He was always such a big flirt. Who couldn't resist his blue eyes and wonderful smile?

I just googled my Uncle's name today because I am really missing him today. Because my grandfather( his brother) died before I was born, he took his place and he was more than an uncle to me and my two younger sisters. He was my Gruncle(grandfather/uncle). We gave him the nickname UB, short for Uncle Bill. He didn't like it at first but he grew to love his new nickname.

I am always overwhelmed (in a good way) when I see how much affect one great man had on this world. UB was always very modest and never boasted about his achievements. He truly was the perfect example of a humble man. When I needed advice he was always there. I often think What Would UB do when I am unsure of myself.

Thank you Charles Cingolani for writing this post. I would also like to thank everyone who posted on here as well.

Thomas Lehnerd said...

It is sad that there are some who choose to say derogatory things about a man who is no longer here to defend himself although, Uncle Bill was not the type of man who would even stoop to justify such remarks with a comment. Bill Lehnerd was a very caring individual who, as a teacher was not just there for a paycheck. I have just spent a bunch of time with a number of his former students all who touted him as a no nonsense teacher who inspired students to give their best. I a confident that it is entirely impossible to make a perfect impression on every student over the span of 33 years of teaching so, I am sure that there are those of you who have a less than wonderful opinion of the man. This being the case if you feel the need to voice your opinion in a public forum and you feel that it is the truth then have the courage to stand by your opinion with your name.
There in my mind that Uncle Bill was heterosexual. I know that he was a good man and a very respected teacher. I have had many examples of this respect expressed to me by former students and colleagues. He was an incredible individual who spoke softly and carefully with respect. he had a forgiving nature that was existential at the least. I know of one experience when I was a young boy that I witnessed two teenagers throw a brick through the window of my Grandparent's house. The brick nearly struck my Grandmother and left a mark on the molding that is still there to this day. The boys were aiming their rebellion at my Uncle. The shouted some mean things then ran away. You guys know who you are.
Years later when I bought the house from my Uncle he told me the story about the brick. He then said those two boy grew up to be fine young men. He had nothing bad to say about his attackers. He instead turned the other cheek. I have never been very good at that. I have always respected the way that he somehow could treat even those who showed him disrespect in a respectful manner. Some may call this weakness or, that it shows he wasn't very manly. I say that it shows that he was more of a man than I could ever hope to be.
Bill Lehnerd was a good man and a great example for everyone. He was a modest man who never had a bad thing to say about anyone (and that's not an exaggeration). Although he was never married it is a little known fact that as a young man he was engaged to girl who was Presbyterian. Her parents were not happy with the he was Catholic and eventually influenced a stop to the wedding. I have letters from Uncle Bill to Father Ayube that told me he was heart broken. Much later in life he was once again engaged and she broke it off after a long engagement stating she was not ready to give up her single life. Uncle Bill always treated both of these ladies with love and respect even though they had broken his heart.
I think that it was the fact that he never married that allowed him to live such a full life and accomplish so much. He had an influence in so many areas of our community. He was a volunteer at the hospital, President of the Butler Symphony, not just active continuously in the Musical Theatre Guild he was a founding father, he was active in a number of community organizations that is beyond my meager comprehension. I will always remember him and know his presence in our community will be sorely missed for years to come.