L. Don Lehmikul
L. Don Lehmikul, Ph.D., died on March 19, 2000, at the age of 70, following a 4 year battle with cancer. He was born in Lodgepole, Nebraska on January 2, 1930. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1953 with a BS in physical education and biology, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He served on Submarine Chaser USS PC 572 as Engineering Officer for two years during the Korean Conflict.
On October 3, 1953, he and Carol Dill of Belvidere, Nebraska were married and three daughters were born to this union: Pam, Sandy and Linda. He graduated from the University of Iowa, where he earned a certificate in Physical Therapy (1956) and MS (1958) and PhD (1959) degrees in Human Physiology.
He joined the staff of The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) and became a faculty member of the Baylor College of Medicine in 1976, rising to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1989, Dr. Lehmikul was appointed Director of Brain Injury Research at TIRR, and Principal Investigator of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model System Research Program From 1990 to 1994 he was Director of the Southwest Regional Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Prevention Center. In 1994, Dr. Lehmikul became Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rehabilitation Interventions for TBI.
He authored or co-authored more than 50 publications in major professional journals and textbooks. His works have been recognized throughout the United States as important contributions to the body of knowledge in the fields of physical therapy, spinal cord injury, brain injury, and clinical research in medical rehabilitation. Among the several awards and honors that he received are: the Mary McMillan Lecture Award from the American Physical Therapy Association, and the 1999 Gold Key Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
After retirement, his leadership skills were soon put to work as a member of the Board of Deacons for the Community Church as it began a building program and as chairman of the Coastal Heritage Preservation Foundation, which became a branch of the Three Arts Alliance. Don loved to sing and was a staunch member of the choir, its Gospel Quartet, and the Community Chorus of the Three Arts Alliance. Survivors include his wife, Carol, three daughters: Pamela Dlhy and husband Allan, and grandchildren Amy and Michael of Wheaton, IL; Sandra Nygren and husband Mark, and grandchildren Amanda and Jennifer of The Woodlands, TX; and Linda Larsen and husband Rob, and grandchildren Alexandra, Shelby and Andrew of Georgetown, TX; sisters: Leila Markel of Boulder, CO; and Betty Schirmer of Chester, IL. The memorial service will be on Tuesday, March 28, at 3pm, at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston.
The family suggests that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution address it to:
Santa Rosa Beach Community Church Building Fund,
P.O. Box 1723, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, 32459
The South Walton Three Arts Alliance, Inc.,
P.O. Box 2042, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, 32459.