Diane Lehman (Granny) was born on August 22, 1937, to Gordon and Kitty Lou Estes. They named her Willa Diane, but she hated the name Willa and refused to use it or answer anyone who called her that. Growing up, she moved all over the western United States, but considered Casper, Wyoming the closest thing to a hometown. She attended many elementary and high schools, graduating from high school in Bakersfield. She attended UCLA where she met and married Syd Lehman.

In 1963 they had the opportunity to move to Garberville, when Syd’s uncle bought the Benbow Inn. They lived in five different houses before they bought the house on Pacific Avenue in Redway. Diane would say all she had to do to get a rental house to sell was to move in, paint all the rooms and put-up curtains.

Diane had many careers; she worked at Bistrin’s, waited tables at Tarantino’s, checked groceries at Lewis’ Quality Foods, taught school, was a dental assistant, and an antique dealer.

Diane contributed to her community. Many people and their children took swimming lessons from her at Benbow Lake. She oversaw the Rodeo Parade for almost two decades. She passed out toothbrushes along with candy on Halloween. She was a member of Soroptimist International and later Rotary. She volunteered for the Chamber of Commerce. She was a member of the Humboldt County Grand Jury Association; the video they made is still shown to potential jurors. Diane really felt she and Syd had found their place and wanted to contribute anything they could.

Diane passed away on November 25. She is survived by her three children: Brooke Epperly, Craig Lehman, and Blake Lehman. Grandchildren: Ryan and Colleen Epperly; Kyle, Ashley, Carly, and Cale Lehman; and Isaac and Parker Lehman. Great-grandchildren: Adian Ayers and Truen Dalton. Nephews and nieces: Shannon and Cindy Johnson; Mike and Linda Johnson; and Sherry Johnson. In-laws Doug Epperly, Karen Lehman, Kelly Lehman and Joe Dill and his children Lonnie and Tracy.

She is proceeded in death by her parents, Gordon and Kitty Lou Estes; sister, Cora Lou (Corky) Johnson Dill; grandson, Sean Epperly; nephew, Patrick Johnson; and her partner in all things, Syd Lehman.

A celebration of Diane’s life will be held at a later time.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Dianne Lehman’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.