In Memory

Michael Lehman

Michael Lehman


“Houston, Tranquility Base here…” 


A Tribute to Michael Lehman

by Ed Walters


Michael Lehman was born on December 1, 1952.  He attended Adams Elementary School, Williams Junior High School, and West High School in Davenport, Iowa. After his initial attempt to build a computer while in elementary school, he later became one of the first members of the newly formed computer club at West High School. After graduation he attended Iowa State University where he studied computer science and electrical and computer engineering and graduated in the class of 1977. He applied his talents in computer science with Microsoft where he was employed as senior architect from 2004 to 2010. He later served as an expert witness at Silicon Valley Expert Witness Group, principal engineer at the Walt Disney Company, and managing director at Dreamtime Studioz.

In high school, I was in a garage band, and one of our more memorable occasions was playing at the Winter Blues Dance at West High School. I learned years later that Mike recalled seeing our band and the idea of learning to play a guitar and write music came to his mind. Years, later, I learned that Mike learned to play guitar and developed a passion for creating and recording his music.

Mike Lehman and I shared much in common during our childhood years. We had both recently moved into the same neighborhood in Davenport and were challenged by the transition of meeting new friends. One day we were playing in the snow in a field behind my house. He convinced me to close my eyes while I was making a snow angel. I was shocked when I felt cold snow falling on my face and opened my eyes in time to see Mike running away laughing. Although I didn't fully appreciate it at the moment, I have come to recognize a sense of humor as being a means of coping with a challenging world and a sure sign of intelligence.

My first memory of Mike Lehman was the day he carried a cigar box to Adams School and announced he was building a computer. In spite of the inevitable jesting and ridicule that this act prompted, I recognized at an early age that Mike Lehman was unique.  When I reflect on this childhood memory the story of Albert Einstein receiving a compass as a gift when he was a young boy comes to mind. Rather than amusing himself with the toy then laying it aside to be soon forgotten, he remained awake all night trying to solve the mystery of  how the arrow swung toward the north pole as if by magic.

Many years passed following those years of knowing Mike in Davenport. Like so many classmates we went different directions and lost contact. Thanks to social media we became reconnected during the past several years. The last time I saw Mike was by way of webcast during  a recent high school class reunion. I was unable to attend the reunion but had the opportunity to interact with some of those who attended by webcam. The first person I spoke with was Mike Lehman. He looked directly into the camera and smiled. He asked where I was living and I replied that I was living on Neptune. His face lit up and he remarked that I hadn't changed. He then talked about how he remembered seeing our band play and how he wanted to learn to play guitar.

Late in life Mike developed cancer, but never lost his love of music and creating and dreaming. I learned of Mike's passing during a phone conversation with his partner, Denise. She talked about how Mike chose to live out his final days in his Seattle home where he could enjoy the view of the mountains and Puget Sound.  She told me that when he passed away he was dreaming that he was an astronaut (one of his lifelong passions) and was talking to planet Earth. I thanked her for the beautiful story and for the love she shared with him to his last day.  A dreamer to the end.  

“…The Eagle has landed.”


To hear Michael's song, Reunion, press play.



by Michael Lehman

I’m goin back to where I came from
The Tall Corn This, The Tall Corn That
And highways that only go up or down 50 feet over 50 miles
It’s flat I’m sayin
It’s flat (Car sound)
I’m goin back to where I came from
Something I’ve done from time to time
They call it Davenport - where Bix was born
Hoping this time I’ll be fine

I haven’t seen the gang for the past few years
We're Falcons Come on Red, Come On White (Come on Home!)
Who’s still making…. first downs
and who’s going in to overtime
We’re coming up on our reunion
I will not be an empty chair
I promised Doug I would sit right next to him
Somehow, I’ll (chime/drum/bass?) be there

Going Home / Coming Back / Coming Home / Going Back / Coming Home

I’m goin back to where I came from
To see the muddy Mississipp...
My eyes are flooding when I gaze downstream
Our riverboats are quite a trip
I’m goin forward where I loved first
Riding the ones and Vandeveer
I’ll bring a metaphor and mighty thirst
Goin back for sure,
Reeling in the years,
Red Badge of Courage got me here
Falcons fly on high
Fledgling Beak and Eye
Feeling my home  place, Holding one more ace
Shooting in to space, Can’t wait to see your face