Graham baseball icon Lem Teer remembered for huge impact

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Longtime Graham resident Lem Teer, who had an impact on area amateur baseball in several roles, is remembered fondly by many who crossed paths with him.

“One of the finest men you’d ever meet,” said Benny Brooks, a Graham man who had numerous connections with Teer. “If there was ever a gentleman, it was Lem Teer. He was just great with the kids and he loved baseball.”

Teer, 94, died May 8 at home.

Teer had roles on baseball coaching staffs at Eastern Alamance and Graham. He also spent a long stretch with the American Legion Post 63 team in a coaching role.

“He was just a great mentor around the guys and in the dugout,” former Graham coach Chad Holland said. “He always had something meaningful to say.”

Teer was a former player with the Burlington Bees in the 1950s. Well after his playing days, it seemed to some observers that he became a caretaker for Tom Zachary Field, which is located at Graham Middle School and the site of high school games and previously American Legion games.

Former Graham coach Bob Grant, who also played for the Red Devils, recalled Teer in several capacities.

“He never changed,” Grant said. “When I played for him, he would give me pointers. As a first-year coach, he was the same way. He was the same way with the players. He gave it to them whether they wanted it or not.”

Teer worked as a systems analyst with Burlington Industries, but baseball might have seemed like his career. Grandsons Johnathan Rose and Chandler Rose were players for Eastern Alamance and Post 63, so he had a chance to instruct them.

There was a time, Grant said, that Teer suggested that he might have to step away from his time at the ball field.

“He would say, ‘This is it,’ “ Grant said. “But you never, ever had to tell him when the season started. The first day of practice, he’d be sitting there waiting for us.”

Grant said Teer spent time with the Red Devils through 2016.

Coaches remember one of Teer’s many rituals. He would show up daily with two bags of peanuts for the coaches – one for the practice or game, another to take home.

Teer is a member of the Graham Sports Hall of Fame. Brooks, who had a long association with American Legion baseball in Alamance County, said Teer’s impact was significant as a fundraiser for the Post 63 baseball program as well as his on-field role.

He also aided the Graham Boosters Club.

“He helped us raise money,” Brooks said. “He worked on the fields. Not just the baseball field, but he would help line the football field.”

Under Teer’s watch, the Red Devils didn’t need to worry about the condition of Tom Zachary Field. The mowing was taken care of.

“That was his thing,” Grant said. “He loved being around baseball.”

And the Eagles, Red Devils and Post 63 players felt the same about having Teer in the dugout.
“He was such a great mentor,” Holland said. “Those guys you want around.”

Teer is survived by his wife, Peggy Jeffreys Teer, and three children. There will be no public memorial service.