Eileen Lehman Weatherly died March 13, 2020, from a brain injury after a fall. In recent years she was facing increasing challenges from advancing Parkinson’s disease. Eileen was born in Walla Walla, Washington on May 9, 1932, the daughter of Russell and Ruth Fehleisen Lehman. When a teenager, the family moved to a farm in Dayton, Oregon. She had lots of stories of picking cherries and canning peaches there. Eileen graduated from Oregon State University, where she met Norman Fred Weatherly. They married in 1952. After stints in Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Ulm Germany, Corvallis Oregon, and Manhattan Kansas, in 1963 they moved to Carrboro, North Carolina, their home for over 50 years.
Eileen and Norman had six children. Family stories often surround the summer trips to Oregon to adopt yet another baby from Boys and Girls Aid Society.
After her kids were in grade school, Eileen resumed her teaching career, teaching a generation of four-year-olds at the University Presbyterian Kindergarten/Preschool. Later, she worked for Measurement Incorporated as a supervisor and grader of standardized tests well into her 80s, cheerfully heading off to work. She would bring home on post-it notes amusing bits of essays that students had written, which we all could chuckle over.
A major part of her spiritual and social life revolved around the University Presbyterian Church, where she served in many roles including as an Elder.
Eileen was brilliant at getting joy from small things. She loved trips to the beach, and would put the money saved by using powdered milk into a beach-trip account, even as her children said “yuck.” She loved travel, and oft-repeated family lore is how on cross-country camping trips she would say things like, “let’s go to Pecos Bill’s boyhood home. It’s only 50 miles off the route.” Norman would shake his head and turn the car in that direction. Eileen and Norman traveled to almost all the states in their beloved RV, as well as taking many international trips. In her 86th year, she traveled to Nicaragua and Costa Rica with a close friend, and took a trip with family to visit a granddaughter in the Pacific island country of Palau, snorkeling on the coral reefs and sweet-talking her way into permission to take home a beautiful shell she found on the beach there (“consider it Palau’s gift to you,” the agent said). Less than a month ago, even as her Parkinson’s was progressing, Eileen went on a last trip to her favorite spot on the North Carolina beach.
Eileen was predeceased in 2015 by her husband of almost 63 years, Norman. She is survived by siblings Sherman Lehman of California, Mel Lehman of Hawaii, and Joanne Hardy of Maine. She is also survived by her children Norma (Stewart) Schwab, Scott, Jay, Jill, Dawn, and Vance, thirteen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
With the coronavirus pandemic upon us, and recognizing that Eileen (who after all was married to a professor in the UNC School of Public Health) would want to do her part to protect the health of her loved ones and the world at large, the family is not holding a public memorial service at this time. A recording of the private service will be available at upcch.org/weatherly-memorial.
Donations in her memory may be made to the University Presbyterian Church, PO Box 509, Chapel Hill NC 27514 (upcch.org), or SECU Jim & Betsy Ryan Hospice Home of UNC Healthcare, 100 Roundtree Way, Pittsboro NC 27312.