Robert William Lehmann, a World War II veteran and retired NYPD detective who served honorably in the Army and fought in North Africa and in the battles of Anzio and Monte Cassino, died of natural causes May 22 at the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook.
Lehmann, of Baiting Hollow, was 92 years old.
He also experienced an unexpected reunion with his long- lost brother late in life, according to his son Jim Lehmann of Frederick, Maryland. When Lehmann went into the Long Island Veterans Home in 2014, he was reunited about eight months later in April 2015 with his brother, Fred, a Korean War veteran, after more than 50 years apart.
“Their reunion was an unintended but happy coincidence — neither knew of the other’s whereabouts until they were placed on the same floor,” said Jim Lehmann.
Robert Lehmann was born in Queens and graduated from Grover Cleveland High School.
While fighting in World War II, he was reported missing in action during the Battle of Anzio. A year later, he was identified as a prisoner of war by the Red Cross.
Upon returning home from the war in November 1945, he lived in Middle Village and became a police officer. He met his wife, Irma, while on the beat and the coupled married in 1951. They settled in Merrick and had three children.
A decorated policeman and detective with the New York City Police Department, he retired in 1967 after 21 years. He moved to Poughkeepsie and worked as an insurance investigator.
In his leisure time, he enjoyed surf fishing, landscaping, painting, the theater and listening to jazz.
After retiring from his career as an insurance investigator, he and his wife moved to Winter Park, Florida. But they returned to upstate New York near Chatham and then to East Harwich, Massachusetts.
The couple moved again to be near their son Robert who lives in Calverton. The elder Robert Lehmann needed full-time medical care and went to the Veterans Home in 2014, his son Jim said. Less than a year later, Fred arrived.
The nurses noticed that the two veterans had the same last name and asked them if they knew each other — coincidentally they had been assigned nursing stations about 30 feet apart.
The brothers, the only siblings in the family, had lost touch for decades after both had served in the military. They soon became inseparable in the veterans home.
“My father was a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy and he made a joke; he said, ‘Fred, where you’ve been?’ ” said Jim Lehmann, who also found out he had a cousin, Fred’s daughter, Lori Lehmann, of Selden.
Jim Lehmann has a photograph of the two of them in the home, “and you can see they were brothers again,” he said.
Robert Lehmann also is survived by his daughter, Marlene, of East Harwich and Amelia Island, Florida; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
A memorial service and inurnment with military honors will be held Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Calverton National Cemetery.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect residence of Lori Lehmann.