John Marshall Legler
1930 - 2014
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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.
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Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Jul. 13, 2014.
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3 entries
July 9, 2016
In preparation for my nursing degree, i took human anatomy from Dr. Legler. I believe that his class was one of two favorites of two BS degrees. He taught me something I use to this day in public speaking and teaching in various settings. He said that he liked to tell you what he was going to teach that day, proceed to teach it and then tell you what he had taught.
In the process of this class, I became friends with the teaching assistant. With him, I was invited to dinner at the Legler home, which was a real treat. It was a delicious dinner and we were served cucumbers marinated in sour cream. I still have that recipe card written by Mrs. Legler. If any one in the family would like that card, I would love to pass it along.
Thank you to Dr. Legler for being an excellent educator, a bright man who was passionate about science and in this case, the human body. My best to all the family.
Ruth Reneer
May 20, 2015
Dr. Legler is one of the main reasons I am a physical therapist today. I was hired as an Anatomy lab assistant from out of state. Along with Dr Legler's letter of recommendation, the tuition pay for working in the lab and his love of teaching anatomy. He also came to visit my husband and I in Hawaii during a swim meet. I will miss him. Sincerely,
Gail Olson-Smith
July 13, 2014
Austin, I just wanted to let you know how much John meant to me. I assisted in his care for several years and he made me believe in what I do meant something to him. John gave me several opportunities to show him that I would be there when he needed me and I was glad I was....he helped me fine tune my medical skills often. I feel blessed to be able to call him my friend above all and I will truly miss him.
Richelle Buschman
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