Jan's Blog

Lenny Emery

August 18, 2013

Lenny Emery passed away on Thursday evening.

Lenny was a much-loved, long-time Waterville Valley resident. He was the “piano man” who entertained us with his tunes, stories and jovial good humor.

Lenny Emery

Lenny was my friend and confidante.  Twenty years ago, when I was a stressed out mom trying to juggle a demanding job with one child in daycare, and one child in half day kindergarten, Lenny came to my rescue by hosting numerous after school play dates for my son, Tyler, with his son, Lenny.  He taught Tyler how to play kitchen hockey, video games, and eat succotash.  He let the kids run until they dropped in a heap; never concerned that they should do their homework or take it easy because they had school the next day.  He kept me sane (relatively speaking) when our sons were in school together – always telling me to relax and stop being so uptight.  “You should try meditating,” he frequently suggested to me. When I cried to him that I didn’t feel like I fit in with the other parents who had time for midweek coffee klatsches and after school socials, he responded, “Don’t worry; they’re not all they’re cracked up to be.”

Whenever he saw my husband, Harry, Lenny would shout, “Happy Birthday!” – no matter the day, month, year.  For Lenny,  life was an endless celebration – a birthday everyday.

When Harry and I decided to transfer our son from the Waterville Valley school to the Thornton school, Lenny pleaded with me to let Tyler stay in Waterville.  I said, “Lenny, I want Tyler to go to a bigger school – one that’s more like the ‘real world’ than Waterville Valley Elementary School.”  He looked at me like I had three heads.  “Why,” he asked, “would you want him to be in the ‘real world.’  Isn’t this one [meaning Waterville Valley] much better?  He’ll be in the ‘real world’ will soon enough.  Let him enjoy the Waterville world for a while longer.”

As the years passed and our kids grew up, Lenny and I didn’t see each other as frequently.  Occasionally, he’d call me at work and say, “Hey, it’s Lenny.  I heard a joke the other day…” and he’d recite the joke, get me laughing and then hang up – his job done.  He’d made me relax, laugh and feel a little less uptight.

When Lenny was getting ready to release his music CD, “The Way You Look Tonight,” he stopped by my office and said he wanted me to hear something.  He asked me to go outside and we sat in his car and listened to the CD demo.  He stared dreamily out the windshield as he played several tracks:  “Whether You Like it or Not,” “You Are the One,” and “A Star Shines for You.”

I don’t know who or what inspired him as he wrote these songs – he had so many loving friends and family members in his life.  But, at that moment sitting in his car, it felt like he’d written those songs just for me.

I wish I had something more profound to write about Lenny’s passing.  As always the case, Lenny said it best:

I Swear

I swear by love and bluebird skies
And the evening crickets’ lullabies
And the endless giggle in a newborn’s eyes
I swear
Nobody dies.

It’s all illusion, just God’s show.
From everlasting to everlasting
On we go.
Now I walk the shoreless bliss
For I gave you my love
And you gave me your kiss.

From “A Skier’s Prayer” Poems by Leonard Emery

There will be a memorial service for Lenny Emery on Friday, Aug. 23, from 3-5pm at the Waterville Valley Conference Center.

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget. 1-888-987-8333.

11 thoughts on “Lenny Emery

  • Joanne Reynolds says:

    Ur article on Lenny was just lovely! He was such a special person.

  • Howard Squires says:

    Hello-Just saw that Lenny passed away and had to reach out and say that my family and Lenny were very good friends.My favorite Lenny act was when my grandaughter was a newborn he placed our Hannah Rose in her bucket on top of his piano at the White Mountain Hotel (his home for about 10 years)and sang to her for fifteen minutes at the hieght of dinner time.We will all miss him.the Squires Family

    • Jan Stearns says:

      Thanks for your message, Howard. I can just picture him putting your granddaughter on top of his piano and playing for her (and you!). He was a very special guy.
      Jan

  • Richie S says:

    I will miss Lenny’s smile and everlasting positive nature.
    I have missed his being 1st chair for over 100 days each season and “never a bad day of skiing”
    I will miss the music he gave to the Valley ane especially the many times we played together.

    Lenny, a very brave soul, would never complain but jut looked at life as a melody.
    He will live on in my memory.

    Richie Scherr

  • Gary Sullivan says:

    Jan,

    What a wonderful article about Lenny. You captured the essence of a really remarkable person. I’m sorry I just heard about his passing. I’ve been in Ireland on an extended family trip. Lenny was a great performer and a special friend. We’ll never forget his years at the White Mountain Hotel. Myself, Christine and our four children will keep him in our prayers.

  • stan witko says:

    I worked at WV in the 80’s as the hospitality manager for Tom C. I was lucky enough to be able to call lennie a friend. He told me once “Stan you have a tough job”. I replied ” not really lennie, it;s pretty easy”. In typical lennie fashion he said” naw…you just make it look easy”. That was the nicest compliment I got in my entire career. Another time after I left WV I was in at he hospital in Concord for several weeks. i was a smoker in those days and just dying for one. Who shows up out of the blue after 2 years of not seeing each other but Lennie. With a carton of Camel non filters!
    He was and always will be magical and I thank God for having known him.

    • Jan Stearns says:

      Hi Stan! I remember you from your Waterville Valley days…I think I was either working at the Conference Center, or for Paul Robbins at Waterville Valley Group Sales…or, maybe I’d gone to work for Tom Corcoran by that time. In any event, I remember those days when Lenny was playing at the Speakeasy. You’re right. Lenny was magical.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Jan

  • Linda says:

    OMG. I used to live in WV, and was very close friends with Leonard for many years during our lost youth.

    Today I just learned that my ex-husband, another local resident, passed away 20 years ago. (Guess I’m a bit behind the times). So I looked up Lenny’s website to ask him about it -only to find this. It can’t be possible. What? How? WHY?

    I can’t seem to find any online obits. Any information at all would be very much appreciated -here or email. Thanks.

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