Dr. LaMeta Dahl Lubchenco, a pioneer pediatrician in Denver, mother of 6 daughters and champion of opportunities for girls, died peacefully from natural causes in her home, surrounded by family on January 6, 2014. She was 96 years old. Born in Elgin, North Dakota in 1917, she graduated from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN in 1937 and received her MD in 1941 from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. She came to Denver in 1942 as a Resident Physician in Pediatrics at Denver Children's Hospital and in 1944 joined a private pediatric practice, "The Children's Clinic." From 1946 to 1952 she taught full-time in the Pediatric Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine where she was twice voted "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" by the medical students. After her first daughters were born, she transitioned to working part-time in the City and County of Denver well baby clinics so she could combine work and family - a model that inspired her daughters and numerous other young women. Dr. Dahl married Dr. Michael A Lubchenco of Denver in 1946. They had six daughters. She was an active leader in Mile High Girl Scouting and a prominent supporter of her daughters' swimming and diving program, the University of Denver Hilltoppers. After retiring, she travelled extensively and volunteered at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Conflict Center, and the Colorado Alumni Group of the College of St. Catherine. She was a charter member of the 10:30 Catholic Community in Denver. Hobbies included reading, playing bridge and cribbage, decorating cakes and playing with and inspiring her grandchildren, great grandchildren and their friends. Having suffered from polio at age 2, she took a keen interest in the disease throughout her professional career. As a pediatrician at the CU Medical School in 1946, she was responsible for the care of 175 acute polio patients in the last polio epidemic in Colorado history and she helped inoculate Denver second graders with the first batch of polio vaccine when it became available in 1954. She was preceded in death by her brother Robert Dahl, husband Mike, daughter Nancy and grandson Alexei Menge. She is survived by her daughters Dr. Jane Lubchenco (Dr. Bruce Menge) of Corvallis OR, Annette Lubchenco Donaghy, MS (Dr. Jay Donaghy) of Boulder, CO, Mary Lou Lubchenco, MSW (Dr. Frank Barron) of Colorado Springs, CO, Peggy Lubchenco, MS (Dr. Steve Gaines) of Santa Barbara CA, and Carolyn Lubchenco Wiese, JD (Bill Wiese, J.D.) of Denver, 11 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. A memorial celebration will be held at the 10:30 Catholic Community at Capital Heights Presbyterian Church at 1100 Fillmore on January 25 at 3pm. Donations: St. Catherine University: stkate.edu/giveonline or by mail: St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave Mail F-12, Saint Paul, MN 55105.
Published in Denver Post from Jan. 10 to Jan. 12, 2014