Mount Vernon jokester turns 100, mayor declares ‘Fred Lehman Day’

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:27 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Six days a week a group meets in the basement of Bauman’s clothing store in Mount Vernon for coffee and conversation. The turnout on Thursday was larger than normal, and for good reason. It’s Fred Lehman’s 100th birthday.

“It means yesterday I was 99. Much younger, much younger,” Fred laughed.

He is known for his sense of humor, and he’s been bringing it to the coffee group for decades.

“I try to get here everyday, if Fred’s here I don’t want to miss him,” said Rick Elliott of Mount Vernon.

“They meet every morning, I don’t make it every morning, some mornings I’m tired,” Fred told us.

He carried his jokes online during the pandemic to reach people in isolation.

“Fred’s a community icon, been doing wonderful things all of his life. He’s a very calm and joyous personality,” said David Ryan of Mount Vernon.

It’s why celebrating Fred’s 100th birthday was a day many couldn’t miss.

”I would have come two or three states to be at this thing right now,” said Mike Kortmeyer of Mount Vernon.

The day was marked in Mount Vernon history, with a proclamation by Mayor Thomas Wieseler.

“I now, Thomas M. Wieseler, by the power vested in me as the mayor of Mount Vernon, with the entire citizenry of the commonwealth of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, do solemnly proclaim and declare this 26th day of January, in the year of our lord 2023 Fred Lehman Day. Hear ye! Hear ye,” Wieseler said to a room full of applause.

Fred has done much more over the years than keep people laughing. He served as a marine in 1945 and has been a member of the Mount Vernon American Legion for 75 years, and the Lion’s Club for 70 years.

He says the secret to being 100 is good genes and his loving family, but if you ask his friends they’ll tell you his unwavering sense of humor has played a role.