Theodore Paul Lehn | Passages

Theodore Paul Lehn ... Aug. 17, 1949 - Jan. 3, 2010 - Family of Theodore Paul Lehn
Theodore Paul Lehn ... Aug. 17, 1949 - Jan. 3, 2010
— image credit: Family of Theodore Paul Lehn

Theodore Paul Lehn
Aug. 17, 1949 - Jan. 3, 2010

Theodore Paul Lehn was a lover of life, father, husband, brother, son, and friend, architectural designer and builder, finish carpenter, environmentalist, volunteer, world traveler, gardener, and gourmet cook.

Ted loved to laugh and make people happy, usually by surprising them with something new. Whether it was with music, food, stories of adventures in exotic places, important discoveries, an especially good book, or a beautiful work of art, Ted lived life more abundantly than most and was eager to share his many joys whenever he could.

Ted adored kids and loved to spend as much time as he could joking around with them, having fun, and exploring new places and ideas. Whenever he thought he could help a good cause he was quick to volunteer his time. He coached winning Little League and girls basketball teams, organized San Juan Island’s response to a middle school “Odyssey of the Mind” challenge that made it to the state finals, helped coordinate the development of the San Juan Islands’ first public skateboard park and for several years served as a deacon of the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.

Ted loved to travel to distant places to meet new people, enjoy their food, music, and art, and to see and learn from what they built. Ultimately he visited, lived, and/or worked in nearly 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America.

He loved and sought to protect and preserve the sanctity of our planet’s natural environments and was a strong proponent of sustainable design long before most understood its importance. One of his earliest solar projects was featured on the April 1981 cover of Sunset magazine, he designed and co-developed one of Washington state’s first solar-heated multi-family residential complexes in 1982, and he invented a unique resource conserving wall system for the Atcheson Residence on Orcas Island, which was featured in the September 1988 issue of Fine Homebuilding.

During his 40-year career he designed and often built over 20 of the islands’ finest custom homes, Friday Harbor’s Island Design Center, and Lakedale Resort.

On Jan. 3, 2010 Ted died of a stroke in David, Panama; after returning to Seattle, his wife Jennifer died 32 days later. Ted was preceded in death by his father, Ted, and survived by his two sons, Zecca and Javas, his daughter Tess, his mother Trudy, his twin brother Thomas, and his older brother Phillip.

To share your memories of Ted, please visit, write something in the Comments box, and click the submit button. To view a commemorative photo essay, learn more about Ted’s life and works, and read the remembrances of others, click his resume link on the same Contact page.

In lieu of flowers, a fund has been established to help Ted’s daughter cope with her sudden loss. Contributions should be addressed to "Fund for Tess Lehn" and sent to Islanders Bank, P.O. Box 909, 225 Blair Ave., Friday Harbor, WA 98250-0909.

Ted loved to be inspired and was often able to inspire others. He imagined a better life for us all and was occasionally able to share a taste of the glorious. He was dearly loved and will be sorely missed by many.

-- Family of Theodore Paul Lehn

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