In Memoriam: Calum Lehman


Courtesy of the Lehman Family

Calum Lehman would have graduated in early May.

Sam Fanatico '22, For The Villanovan

Just a short while ago, the class of 2022 celebrated Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement altogether. Prior to graduating, there was one question that continued to poke at me. It is the question every graduate has been asked during our four years: what is a good life? Whether in Ancients, Moderns, or Ethics, this question has been posed to us at different points along our college journey. Yet, after four years, the answer still evaded me. What does a good life look like?

Then, sitting out on the field at Commencement, I found the answer to this question in the seemingly empty chair to my right. However, it was not truly empty. Seated in that chair was the soul of one of our classmates, my best friend, my brother, Calum Lehman. Calum passed away in September of our sophomore year. On that field, I realized that a good life, or a life well lived, is truly the life that Calum lived.

First and foremost, Calum lived a life dedicated to serving God. You can ask anyone from his hometown in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and they will tell you Calum had a soul on fire for the Lord. His love for Christ manifested itself in the way Calum lived such a good life.

Calum lived with a care for others that is beyond compare. I still remember freshman year thinking to myself “this guy is kinda crazy” because he was so downright nice. He constantly did whatever he could to help others. For example, while I was on crutches freshman year, Calum would eat every meal he could with me to help carry my food. Also, he would always check in on others. He had a skill for being able to tell when someone was feeling a little down and would do everything possible to brighten up their day. Calum simply cared so deeply for others. He knew the name of every employee at Spit and Conn. He took the time to get to know everyone who crossed his path. Calum could tell you everything about Villanova’s dining staff because he spent time developing genuine relationships with them. He never did anything for praise or any inauthentic reason. Caring for others brought him joy because his heart was so genuine.

Calum lived with a yearning to learn more. He was a student of life. He would go beyond classroom assignments to learn more and better himself as a person. One memory that stands out is from freshman year when he went to the library and got this book about the history of the world that was about 70 years old. Just to learn more, he would take out that old, worn-down book and sit at his desk in our dorm and take notes about it. Calum realized what a gift it was to learn. He wanted to learn simply for the sake of learning. 

Calum lived as a truly authentic individual. He was the type of guy that always shared his opinion… even if nobody asked for it. This was not to be obnoxious, but rather, to be authentic with others even if he had an unpopular opinion. Calum never pretended to be somebody he was not. While so many of us try to fit in, he was comfortable just being himself. Calum lived a life true to himself.

Calum’s life demonstrated a love and commitment with others that was second to none. He had a girlfriend back in Colorado and every single night he would wait up until 2 or 3:00 a.m. for her to finish practice and homework so they could talk. Even though long distance was difficult, Calum did everything he could to make it work and show her he loved her. Being on the swim & dive team, this meant he would consistently go to practice in the morning on just two hours of sleep. He taught me that when you care for someone, whether that be a girlfriend, friend, or family member, you need to be all-in for demonstrating the love you have for them. Why have a relationship with someone if you are not going to be committed? When you love someone, love them completely and without limits.

Finally, Calum lived with a joy that anyone would recognize. His joy was brought to life in his laughter. Calum had this laugh, well, it was more like a hyena’s cackle, that was loud and proud and would make everyone within earshot smile. When he laughed, he really laughed. Calum held nothing back, his laughter knew no shame. That is because his joy was fully intertwined with his laugh. Nobody questioned his joy for life when they heard his laugh. What always amazed me was Calum’s ability to find joy in such intense magnitudes every day. Like anybody else, he dealt with lows, but Calum always found a way to just trust in God, smile, and laugh amidst it all.

Although his life was far from easy, Calum lived it to the fullest. He lived his life the best he could. In looking at Calum’s life, it is clear to me now that a life well lived is a life rooted in love for others and love for God. It is a life that is wholly devoted to caring for others, regardless of whether they are the late-night custodians or your closest friends. It is a life fueled by a passion to always learn more. It is a life of authenticity. It is a life of complete commitment to relationships, of loving with total devotion. It is a life that finds joy each day (and laughing without shame!). He lived a life that brings pride to his mother, sister, father, and all who knew him. Calum’s life serves as the example for us all. 

In only 19 years on this earth, Calum left a positive impact that will last forever. Calum lived more than a good life; he lived the best life anyone can strive towards.