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Olivia Lehman

Olivia Lehman Obituary
Olivia (Livy) Esther Lehman, 60, died Friday, February 15, 2019 of a sudden cardiac event. Liv was all heart. An accomplished writer, her proudest journalistic achievements were a five-part series in the Main Line Times about the history of racial relations in Ardmore, PA for which she won a Pennsylvania Keystone Award in 2004, and a letter printed in The New York Times about the poignant ending of The Sopranos: “Where else could the story have closed more compassionately than at a small Formica table? Even more chilling than the series’ gruesome violence was the vast, sparkling loneliness of the Sopranos’ huge dining table and kitchen, one of the saddest backdrops I’ve ever seen on stage or screen.” Liv had the soul of an artist, and adored literature, theater, dance, music, poetry, charcoal, watercolor, pottery, embroidery, and crafts. She was an accomplished gardener and cook; anywhere she lived immediately became a welcoming home because she (over) filled it with music, warmth, ephemera, and a totally open heart. Livy attended Barnard College of Columbia University and Temple University, where she majored in English. Passionate about peace and progressive politics, Liv developed and tended community gardens while working for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; worked for the medical journal Current Science; taught music to nursery schoolers; founded and directed an intergenerational community puppet company called “The Puppet Box”; and volunteered as an ESL instructor for refugees and other immigrants in West Philadelphia. Livy’s many lifelong friends treasured her compassion, her gentle spirit, and her wry sense of humor. She also leaves many carers and newer friends who loved her deeply and supported her when she needed them, including Bernie, Erica, Peter, and Sudha, whose years of loyalty are much appreciated by the family. She was predeceased by her father Lee and her beloved stepfather John Alexander. She also leaves her mother Irma, her siblings Laura and Claude, and many nieces and nephews. She was married to her husband and friend Fran Olivieri for 23 years. Being a mother to her daughter Julia Olivieri and her son Daniel Olivieri was Livy’s most important, enduring, and radiant joy. She gave them a magical childhood, and in later years, she loved bragging audaciously about their accomplishments. Their devotion, acceptance, and love kept her alive through an anguished seven-year struggle with depression and other challenges at the end of her life. A memorial will be held on March 3rd at Narberth Borough Hall at 2 PM (doors open at 1 PM). Those considering memorial donations might consider the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) or the Narberth Library.
Published in Main Line Media News on Mar. 3, 2019
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