Heart attack takes life

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By Olivia Tattory

Senior Alicia Ann Lehman passed away suddenly from heart failure on Sunday at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair. Friends described Lehman, a 22-year-old elementary education major, as a mellow person who always wanted to make life better for everyone else.

“She was the most amazing, amazing friend ever,” said senior Sheena Terpenning, one of her roommates. “She was the type of person who you would do anything under the sun for. It was worth it just to see the smile on her face.”

Lehman, who was born in Plainfield, was raised in South Plainfield before moving to Somerset in 2000. Although she was a heart transplant recipient at the age of 10, Lehman never let the worry or fear get in the way of living, friends said.

According to her aunt, Denise Lehman, her niece was the “life force” of the family.Always looking forward to holidays, vacations, going out to eat, family functions and time with friends, Alicia Lehman truly lived life to the fullest.

With childhood aspirations of being a teacher, a profession that Denise Lehman pointed out would not necessarily be the best because of health concerns, Alicia Lehman was getting more excited as graduation approached.

“Ever since third grade, Alicia wanted to be a teacher,” Denise Lehman said. “She was so looking forward to working with children.”

On Nov. 3, the day before her death, Alicia Lehman traveled to New York with her great-aunt Jacky Frady and brother Michael to see the Broadway play RENT.

Kristen Anderson, Alicia Lehman’s other roommate, said she takes comfort in knowing that Alicia Lehman had a nice day with family before her
death.

Alicia Lehman was also an avid punk rock music fan. Her favorite bands included Vampire for Hire, Crash Romeo, In Arms Like These, Bed Light for Blue Eyes, and Of Fate and Chance. According to Anderson, the members of all these bands described Alicia Lehman as much more than just a fan — she was as a friend.

Terpenning vividly remembered the first show she ever went to with Alicia Lehman.

“Watching her rock out and sing every single word to every single song was just awesome,” she said.

The excitement started much earlier than the actual show, the friends agreed. Even before the car ride there, Alicia Lehman was bursting with excitement, said Terpenning.

“The excitement — nothing beat going to a show with her,” she said. “She had love for all of [the bands] equally.”
The five bands are in the planning stages of a benefit show in February to honor Alicia Lehman. Additionally, Crash Romeo is dedicating its newest album to her, said Terpenning.

Lehman was predeceased by her mother, JoAnn Lehman, and her maternal grandparents, Evelyn and John Lehman.

A funeral mass will be celebrated today at 9 a.m. at St. Matthias Church located on JFK Blvd. in Somerset, N.J. The telephone number for the church is (732) 828-1400.

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