What I’ve Learned From My Grandpa, Jay Lehman

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Grandparents Day (Sunday, Sept. 9th), Lindsay Lehman Peters shares the lessons and wisdom she’s gained from her “Poppy,” Jay Lehman (Founder of Lehman’s). Enjoy!

A lot of things have changed over the years, and hearing about those changes, and the way life used to be is fascinating to me. And, one of the most fascinating people I’ve heard these stories from is my own grandpa, Jay Lehman… “Poppy” to all the grandkids.

Some of my favorite memories with my grandpa are the moments when his face lights up as we ask him about his childhood and adolescence. I’m confident that it’s not the stories themselves that bring him joy, rather, it is that we are asking and that his grandchildren want him to share little pieces of his life with them.

Lindsay and Jay with hats
Flashback: Here’s young me with “Poppy”

There really are so many different things that I have learned from him, both from these little talks and simply from watching him.

Here are just three of the many things I’ve gleaned from him.

1. Be generous.
Simplicity is highly valued in our community and our family, and Poppy has made it a priority to use his money wisely. However, when it comes to his family, he is always generous. He has taught me that it is okay to be frugal, but that we must not hold our money too tightly. Seeing how his choice to give has overflowed into the lives of his children, grandchildren, and others is inspiring to me and makes me want to work even harder to be a good steward of his generosityLindsay and Jay with a fawn

2. Work hard.
Sometimes I wonder if the word “relax” is even in my grandpa’s vocabulary. He built his own business from the ground up. He volunteered years of his life to service and has planted thousands of trees for years. He always finds a way to fix something before replacing it—something that is both admirable and, at times, frustrating. And, though he retired years ago, there isn’t a day that goes by where he can’t be found working around Kidron or within the walls of Lehman’s. Honestly, I’m pretty sure it’s one reason while he’s still going strong at 89 years of age.

3. Cherish traditions.
From Christmas Eve Swiss fondue to rides in my grandpa’s Model T to mountains of curry, our family’s bank of traditions warms my heart. It’s not just the familiarity of the traditions that I value, but that they are things that bring my entire family together and provide an outlet for us to celebrate the many pieces of my grandpa’s life. The traditions we carry out are each related to his heritage, places he has lived and served or his family. I know that these traditions are ones that will continue on for generations, and I am so grateful for all the ways I will be able to share my grandpa with my children and grandchildren for years to come.Jay and young Lindsay reading

He’s not an easy smiler, he refuses to carry a cell phone, and he can be incredibly stubborn, but I’m so grateful for him, all he’s done, all he’s taught us, and all the ways he has left an imprint on my life.

I love you, Poppy! Happy Grandparents Day!


lindsay lehman petersLindsay Lehman Peters is the granddaughter of Founder Jay Lehman and daughter of CEO Galen Lehman. She lives in Kidron with her husband, Grant, and her two furbabies. Lindsay is a teacher by trade and is currently training for her first half marathon.


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Patricia Root
Patricia Root
1 month ago

More children should listen to the stories their elders talk about they’re so interesting and useful . Thank you for sharing your experiences with your poppy. Oh I forgot to mention our grandchildren call my husband poppy and they call me nonny , our first 2 grandchildren gave us those names and they stuck with the rest of our 21 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren . Keep listening to your poppys stories and share them with your children those types of memories are wonderful.

Patricia Root
Holton Michigan

Last edited 1 month ago by Patricia Root
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