"Original 3 Member", Jay Lehr Passes
It is with great sadness that we inform our alumni, fans and friends of the unexpected passing of the last of the "Original Three" founders of the Arizona Lacrosse Program, Jay Lehr. Jay was born September 11, 1936 in Bayonne, NJ. He passed away Tuesday, January 10, 2022 at the age of 86 in Delaware, OH. The entire Arizona Lacrosse community sends its condolences to Jay's wife Janet, his family and his many friends.
Jay was inducted into the Arizona Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2019. (Jay Lehr's HOF Induction).
Those who have been associated with the Arizona Lacrosse Hall of Fame events, team members and coaches who were able to met Jay in person were supremely lucky and honored to know this great and unique man. Jay was present in Tucson at his own induction in 2019 and again at the induction ceremony of others from the 1960's just 3 months ago. Many of us who played for the program decades after Jay were able to get to know him well enough to call him a friend. For that we will be eternally grateful.
Jay's passing, as well as the loss of several other of our 1960's and 1970's members, shines a light on the importance on the Hall of Fame to recognize the best players and greatest contributors in the Program's history while we can still thank them in person. Beyond that, the Hall of Fame and the related ceremonies have provided a way for so many old friends and teammates to reconnect and for players to connect across generations. Jay went out of his way to communicate back to the Program just how much he appreciated being able to reconnect with his old friends and teammates, as well as meet those who carried the torch for the Program after him.
Upon learning of his passing, current Arizona Lacrosse Head Coach, Matt Blamey said:
"I had the honor of meeting him at his Hall of Fame induction in 2019 and again at the October 2022 induction ceremony. I had read about the history of Arizona lacrosse through books and articles prior to our meeting. That rich history was brought to life when Jay shared his stories. His personality filled the room. His excitement was contagious. The Program wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Jay's contributions in the early years. He was a Wildcat personified."
The Arizona Lacrosse Program, Jay's many friends and of course his family will dearly miss him, his passion, his energy and his easy smile.
In honor of Jay, as well as Chuck McChesney and Don Golos who were lost before him, the team will be wearing helmet decals this year to remember these three pioneers.
Rest in peace, good friend.
Current and former Arizona Lacrosse alumni, players and coaches.