Donald Lehmann


Dr. Donald Lewis Lehmann, 86, passed away in his sleep March 27, 2011, at the Walla Walla General Hospital. Dr. Lehmann was born in Glendale, Calif., Dec. 25, 1924, the only child of Harry and Carolyn (Lemmon) Lehmann.

In 1943, Dr. Lehmann joined the U.S. Army as a sharpshooter in the ranger unit known as Merrill's Marauders, which saw combat in the jungles of Burma. He earned the Bronze and Silver Stars for bravery and meritorious service, and the Purple Heart. He also contracted malaria, which he battled throughout his life, and the experience sparked a career interest in tropical medicine.

Dr. Lehmann received a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1954 from Oregon State University, and taught as a professor of biology at the University of the Pacific (Stockton, Calif.) and Whitman College (Walla Walla), where he was much beloved by his students, who described him as "tough, but fair, and fascinating." He guided numerous students into productive careers in medicine, industry, and academia.

Dr. Lehmann's three decades of research involved the microbiology of parasitic diseases in Africa, Latin America, and Canada, and he became one of the world's foremost authorities on the debilitating disease of African sleeping sickness. He was a member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and a researcher for the World Health Organization. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the field of tropical parasitology.

In addition to his distinguished career, Dr. Lehmann was a family man who loved to garden, fish, read, and converse.

In 1952, Donald's best friend introduced him to Pauline Zembal, who was the best friend of the best friend's wife. Donald fell immediately for this short, cute, dark-haired beauty, and they wed three weeks later.

Don leaves behind Polly, at home; and five children, Vivian Vandersloot of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Robert (Sandy) Lehmann of Midland, Mich.; James Lehmann and Michael Lehmann, both of Walla Walla; and Carolyn (Steve) Henderson of Dayton; nine grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.


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