Dr. Francis M Lenhart | 1919 - 2012 | Obituary

Dr. Francis M Lenhart
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Dr. Francis M Lenhart

Born: October 19, 1919
Died: April 02, 2012

A graveside service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery, York, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 with Msgr. James Reinert officiating. Graveside Military Services will be conducted by American Legion Bolton Post #19.

Francis Michael Lenhart, M.D., 92, of Bowling Green, OH, died at 2:10 a.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012, at his residence. He was born at home on October 9, 1919, to Frank and Clara (Minck) Lenhart in St. Michael's Ridge in Defiance County, OH. On March 4, 1944, he married Virginia Vaughn. On January 14, 1981, he married Nancy Hees-Myers, and she survives. Also surviving are seven children, Mary (David) Bernabucci, Alexandria, VA, Sarah (Edmund) Pezalla, Wethersfield, CT, Philip (Sally) Lenhart, Rocky River, OH, Martha (James) Lenhart-Cox, Silver Springs, MD, Rebecca Stork, of Defiance, OH, Roberta (Michael) Burke, Naples, FL, and Virginia (Mark) Bell, Shepherdsville, KY; two stepchildren, Mitzi Myers-Nannen, of Lincoln, NE, and Matthew Myers, Phoenix, AZ; a sister-in-law, Peggy (James) Brumbaugh, of Hamburg, IA; eight siblings, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Schlembach, of Quincy, IL, Rita Brown, of Defiance, OH, Patricia Folk, Angola, IN, Suzanne (William) McIntyre, Monroe, MI, Nancy (Dr. Dan) Ducatt, Defiance, OH, Joan (Tom) Elberson, Defiance, OH, Margaret "Peggy" (John) Bennett, Cincinnati, OH, Mary Carol "Bunny" (Dennie) Williams, Defiance, OH; a sister-in-law, Emilie Lenhart, Defiance, OH; father-in-law, Homer Hees, of York, NE; 21 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; his first wife, Virginia Vaughn Lenhart; special family members, Jackie Powell and her children, Linda, Duane, and Marty, Kathie Straussburger, Ginger Hamann, and Camille Norman, and more than 40 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two daughters, Tamara Sue Lenhart in infancy, and Amy Joan (Gary) Scharff; two brothers, Richard and Dr. Ben Lenhart; sister, June Small; four brothers-in-law, William Small, John Schlembach, Dr. H.C. Brown, and Keith Folk, and his mother-in-law, Vera Jean Hees. He was a board-certified family practice physician for more than 50 years. Dr. Fran, as he was known by patients, family, and friends, also served as the assistant coroner for Defiance County, OH, from 1947-58. At that time, he was elected to serve as Defiance County Coroner for six terms. In 1979, he was elected president for the Ohio State Coroners Association. He was a 1937 graduate of Jewel High School and graduated from Defiance College in 1941, where he earned both a B.A. and B.S. For his medical education, he was a student at Western Reserve University (now Case Western), in the Army Specialized Training Program. His residency was performed at the Cleveland Clinic. In the Army, he served at various hospitals, including Camp Atterbury, in Indiana and Fort Campbell, KY. His internship was served at Mercy Hospital, Toledo. He also attended War College. He served with the 101st Airborne Division as a medical officer with the rank of captain. He served as the officer in charge at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he took care of the prisoners from the Bataan Death March. After being discharged May 1, 1947, he served as the first full-time health commissioner in Northwest Ohio, a position he held until he opened his private practice in 1949. He also taught chemistry at Defiance College. In 1949 he also began serving as the medical director of both Defiance County Nursing Home and Defiance County Children's Home. He served both facilities until they closed. He retired December 31, 2000. In recent posts on the internet, many of his former patients recalled his great laugh and good nature, along with other special memories. The Ohio Board of Medicine recognized him for having served 50 years in medicine. Through his political connections, he was an instrumental force in getting the approval and funding through the state for the Medical College of Ohio when it was founded in Toledo. His military background and extensive contacts allowed him to become familiar, if not friends, with many noted figures including, Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower and Gen. Bernard Montgomery of El-Alamein fame. He knew Lord Louis Mountbatten, whom he met at the Imperial War Museum in London. Dr. Fran was an avid history buff, especially the American Civil War. He had an extensive Civil War collection. He also lectured on Civil War medicine, including giving a lecture in England where Winston Churchill's widow served afternoon tea on the lawn. He was an active participant in numerous Civil War reenactments. Because he was the coroner, he was allowed to keep a goat in his backyard for his children's amusement. Family members recall that although he couldn't ride a bicycle, he was extremely adept in delivering a baby or removing an appendix. He was a world traveler visiting six of the seven continents. For example, his visits overseas included working at leper (Hansen's disease) hospitals in the Sudan, and observing obstetrical procedures in Moscow. Dr. Fran was one of the founders of the Defiance County Historical Society at Auglaize Village. He also was a co-founder of the coin and stamp club of Defiance County. Among his memberships were the American Legion, St. Michael's Catholic Church, St. Michael's Ridge, St. Aloysius, Bowling Green, Rotary Club of Defiance, and the Kiwanis, Bowling Green.

The family suggests tributes to Pro Musica at Bowling Green State University, St. Michael Church at St. Michael's Ridge, or St. Aloysius, Bowling Green. A Funeral Service was held on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at the St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green, where he was a member.

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