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John Marshall Legler


1930 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
September 9, 1930 ~ March 28, 2014
Dr. John Marshall Legler, educator, scientist, and conservationist, died March 28, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, of natural causes.
Born September 9, 1930, in Minneapolis, MN, to Fredrick Wilhelm Legler and Helen Hertig Legler; preceded in death by daughter Allison K. Legler (1985), and wife, Avis J. Legler (2009), whom he married upon graduation from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, in 1952. Survived by children Austin F. Legler of Pambula, Australia (Lotte Pors Erickson); Edward P. Legler of Denton, Texas (Nancy Player Legler); and Gretchen T. Legler of Jay, Maine (Ruth D. Hill).
Dr. Legler led a distinguished career in academia, beginning at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where he earned Ph. Ds in anatomy and zoology, serving as Curator of Herpetology at the KU Museum of Natural History. In 1959 he began teaching at the University of Utah, developing the undergraduate program in human anatomy, earning the University's Distinguished Teaching Award, establishing the Legler Professorship and Chair of Anatomy, retiring in 1997 as Emeritus Professor to continue his academic research and professional activity, which included a plenary address at the World Congress of Herpetology in Manaus, Brazil, in 2008. His research, spanning zoology, herpetology, embryology, and ecology, focused Mexican, Central American, and Australian turtles. In 2013 he published (with Richard Vogt) The Turtles of Mexico, Land and Freshwater Forms, a ground-breaking addition to the field.
He'll be remembered by thousands of his students who have pursued carriers in medicine, natural sciences, and the arts; by peers for his commitment to education and old-school field research; and for his passionate belief in conservation. Many also knew him through flyfishing and flytying, competitive swimming, gourd art, homesteading along the Madison River near Ennis, MT, and his support for the Lytle Ranch Preserve near St. George, UT. Of his life, his carrier, and commitments it can be said that he made a profound difference.
As a father he'll be remembered for the ethics he instilled, introducing his children to natural history and conservation, travelling with his family to remote and exotic places, hiking, skiing, and exploring with them at home and around the world, teaching them to fly fish, and to cherish the gift of curiosity.
Those wishing to honor Dr. Legler's memory are invited to make contributions in support of the Legler Professorship in Human Anatomy at the University of Utah: (801) 581-3720.
Online remembrances may be shared at Evan-EarlyMortuary.com.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune on July 13, 2014
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