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Former Friday Harbor Journal editor Lehde passes away at 77

Top photo, Jim Fred Lehde as a young soldier in Korea. Bottom photo, with his daughter, Janet Joyce Lehde, and grandson, Silas David Jantzen, on graduation day 10 years ago.    - Lehde family photos
Top photo, Jim Fred Lehde as a young soldier in Korea. Bottom photo, with his daughter, Janet Joyce Lehde, and grandson, Silas David Jantzen, on graduation day 10 years ago.
— image credit: Lehde family photos

Friends and family of Jim Fred Lehde will gather Friday at noon at the Jackson's Beach boat launch.

Participants can share memories and photographs and say goodbye.

Lehde, who was editor of the Friday Harbor Journal in the 1970s, died June 2 in his Friday Harbor home. He was 77. He is survived by several children and grandchildren.

He served in the U.S. Army in Korea and was an active member of the American Legion. He marched every year in the Friday Harbor Memorial Day Parade. He was also active at Mullis Community Senior Center; some 36 seniors signed a card in his memory for presentation to the family.

Chris Craven, who worked for Lehde at the Journal, wrote this about her former boss:

Jim refused to lead an ordinary life. He was a newspaperman first and foremost. He was also a pilot, a musician, a fisherman, a logger, an inventor and entrepreneur, a writer, a dreamer and, occasionally, a flimflam man.

He married often, usually briefly. He worried about his children, but rarely saw them. He loved animals, especially his dog, Chas. He was proud to have served in Korea, but plagued by memories of combat. He was a dealmaker, sometimes convincing people to do things they regretted later.

Jim was famous for talking fast and jumping from one thought to the next. This could be confusing, but people who listened carefully were often rewarded by his humor and insight. Jim did not pare down his plans to fit other people’s concepts of reality. A week before he died, he was enthusiastically planning the July 4 launch of a revived Friday Harbor Journal even though he had no money and no strength to spare.

He was stubborn, courageous and kept his enthusiasm for life to the end. We will miss him.

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