Don Schlegel, formerly of Indianapolis, Indiana, died July 4, 2018, in Venice, Florida. Don was born April 12, 1923, in Staunton, Indiana to Mary Myrle (Schafer) and Earl Schlegel. He graduated from Staunton High School and Indiana University and received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1945.
While serving an internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he met the love of his life, a senior nursing student, Helen Jaeger. He and Helen married on November 15, 1946, while he was serving in the Army Medical Corps in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. He was transferred to Percy Jones General Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan where he served on the surgical service and was discharged as a Captain on January 25, 1949.
Don continued his surgical training at Indiana University Hospital and entered private practice of general surgery in Indianapolis in January 1953. He enjoyed a long and active surgery career, retiring in May 1991. His greatest pleasure during his career was being Director of Surgical Training at Methodist Hospital from 1960 to 1975. Training young surgeons in not only the necessary technical skills, but also in how to take personal care of their patients and have a sound ethical and moral philosophy was his passion.
He served as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine and was a member of many medical societies. He was also a charter member of Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.
He enjoyed travel and golf and was well loved by his patients, family and friends. In 2007, he and Helen moved to Jacaranda Trace, a retirement community in Venice, Florida, where he remained active socially and enjoyed playing bridge. Just two and a half weeks prior to his death, he was fortunate enough to have gathered his entire family together at a resort in St. Petersburg, Florida for a family reunion to celebrate his 95th birthday, complete with dinners, dancing, photos, and lots of hugs, drinks, and laughter. He was a loving and generous husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and will be missed by all. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert Schlegel and his loving wife Helen Jaeger Schlegel. He is survived by his son Dr. Gregory (Patricia) Schlegel and daughters Susan (Bob) Melum, Barbara Millis (Dr. Paul Jansen), Judy (Keith) White and Theresa (Carl) Mueller, eleven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
His visitation will be held in Indianapolis at the Leppert Mortuary- Nora Chapel at 740 East 86th Street from 9:30-11:30am on Saturday, July 14, 2018 followed by a private memorial service. Memorial contributions can be made to the Dr. Donald M. and Helen K. Schlegel Scholarship (Acct 0370006921), check payable to IU Foundation, mailed c/o Indiana School of Medicine, Indiana University Foundation, P.O. Box 7072, Indianapolis, IN 46207.
To share a memory, please visit www.leppertmortuary.com.
I first met Dr Schlegel in 1971 when he performed a mastectomy for me. I then had to call upon his services again in 1984 for a gall bladder surgery. I could not believe it... he said he remembered me. After all those years and many patients, I was surprised. He then explained that he always remembered survivors. He was just not a talented surgeon but one who cared so much for his patience. Since then it is I that never forgot him. What an incredible impact that had on me. I am now a 47 year survivor by the grace of God through the most talented surgeon and man of God... Donald Schlegel.
In God's love,
Patricia Shafer and family
I was in the first residency group that Dr Schlegel mentored in 1960 and remained part of that group til 1969. there was an interruption of 5 years in Korea, but I served as Chief Resident in 68-69. I have many memories of his teaching at the operating table, many of which are humorous as well as serious. He was very supportive of his residents. It was wonderful that the whole family could celebrate his 95th birthday with him.
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