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USC Football, Track & Field Standout Steven Mark Lehmer Passes Away

Aug 19, 2022

Former USC football and track and field standout Steven Mark Lehmer passed away in Roseville, Calif. on July 14.  He was 74 years old.  

Lehmer, a three-year starter at offensive guard for the Trojan football team (1967-69), played on the 1967 National Championship team and in two Rose Bowls.  He was the only sophomore starter on the 1967 team and went on to earn three All-West Coast honors.

He also earned two letters with the Trojans' track and field team as a left-handed discus thrower.  He was a member of USC's 1967 and 1968 National Champion track and field teams.  His best discus throw of 171-0.50 in 1968 was second among all the Trojan throwers.

Lehmer was born on March 6, 1948 in Pomona, Calif. and competed in a variety of things growing up.  At one point he was an Orange County Yo-Yo champion, model car building medalist and kite building medalist.  He also had a passion for fast motorcycles and cars.  He owned a 1965 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle 650cc, the world's fastest bike at the time; and a Plymouth Mopar 389 HP which he drove to fame at Lions Drag Strip to become Orange County's fastest private-owned drag racing car at the time.

He went to Loara High in Anaheim where he began to excel athletically.  He was an All-State football player and set the then SoCal discus record.  Lehmer earned a football scholarship to USC and graduated in 1970 with an honors Psychology degree.  He was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1969.

An ankle injury halted his sports career so he decided to pursue his childhood love of medicine, entering the USC School of Medicine, graduating in 1975. He completed a general surgery internship at UCI and was an ER physician and general physician for three and a half years.

He married his wife, Debra, in 1980, and together they pursued his surgical medical career. Beginning with moving to Manhattan, NY in 1981 for a four-year Orthopaedic Residency at New York University/Bellevue HospitalMedical Center, where he became an assistant team physician for the New York Yankees in 1984 and 1985. He then moved to Memphis, Tenn. in 1985 for a one-year Hand Fellowship at the Campbell Clinic, and then to California in 1986 to open a private practice in Orthopaedic and Hand surgery in Auburn. 

After five years of a flourishing practice, he closed his office and moved his family to pursue his passion for spinal surgery for 18 months of extensive training at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH and at The London Clinic in London, England. He returned to Northern California to open Sierra Spine Institute and performed the first spine surgery at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Throughout, he authored numerous publications and presentations.

Lehmer's community involvement included serving on the Elder board at First Baptist Church in Auburn; BSA-Troop 783 parent committee and as a Scoutmaster; Forest Lake Christian School Board member, along with providing physicals and photography for sports events; and chaperoning Crossroads Church youth activities including hosting high school summer youth group.

Never one who aspired to retirement, he continued to assist in surgery, was a medical legal consultant, and was the orthopaedic physician for the Sacramento County Jail's weekly orthopaedic clinic until illness prevented him from doing so in 2020.

Lehmer is survived by his wife of 42 years, Debra, children; Joshua Lehmer, Sarah Lehmer, and Jonathan (Jen) Lehmer; one grandchild, Hannah Lehmer; sister, Rebecca (Murry) Darch; niece, Kristin (Rick) Christensen.  

In lieu flowers, please send your donations to "CEF NorCal Greater Sacramento Area -" or "The Gideons International -"

"A CELEBRATION OF STEVEN'S LIFE" will be held on Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Crossroads Church, 10050 Wolf Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949.

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