Founding Chief of Staff of Huguley Hospital dies
Dr. Dennis L. Lehman, the first Chief of Staff at Huguley Hospital, died Dec. 21. Lehman was at Huguley for 38 years and helped put the hospital on the map.
Lehman grew up in Elgin, North Dakota.
“He grew up in an era without electricity or running water,” his daughter, Erica Braden, said. “He was an amazing man.”
After graduating high school at the age of 16, Lehman attended the University of North Dakota, where he graduated in two years, according to his wife of 41 years, Debbie Lehman.
“The man was incredibly smart,” Lehman said. “He got his medical degree from the University of Maryland and graduated in four years.”
After graduating medical school, Lehman decided to go into public health, which brought him to Texas.
“He worked at the public health center at Forest Hill and then worked in another practice for 25 years,” Lehman said. “He eventually bought that practice.”
Lehman was a family practitioner and loved people and babies.
“Delivering babies was his passion,” Lehman said. “He delivered over 3,000 babies. We had four huge photo albums full of pictures of the babies he delivered. His young parents loved him and would send in pictures of their children and kept up with him over the years.”
Lehman himself had eight children, 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
“He eventually moved his practice to Burleson and the family moved to Keene,” Debra Lehman said. “He built a little farm for his family. We had all sorts of animals, including prairie dogs.”
Additionally, Lehaman was also deeply involved with the community. While he was Chief of Staff at Huguley, he was also president of the Tarrant County Medical Society. He started three optimist clubs in Johnson County and built homes for Habitat for Humanity. He was also the volunteer team doctor for the Joshua Owls from 1984-1996 and did other volunteer projects for the Joshua Independent School District, from starting community gardens to housing animals for students involved in FFA who had nowhere to house their animals. He also gave cars to teens who had jobs but needed transportation.
Lehman first got cancer in 2005.
“He had 11 different cancers over the years,” Braden said. “He was such a trooper through the whole thing. He never let anyone know or let on that he had it.”
Lehman survived both prostate and malignant melanoma cancers. However, the 11th cancer was the hardest.
“The last bout of cancer was a doozy,” Braden said. “But he always had a smile on his face.”
Lehman wrote a mission statement that his family keeps framed.
“My mission in life is to leave behind a legacy of self-supporting children that love God, honor their parents and are good law-abiding citizens of the USA. First and foremost I want to be known as a good Christian that loved and honored God. Second, I want to be remembered for my accomplishments as a father and husband. Third, I want to be remembered for my work as a good family physician, that worked for the good of the patient and not for the money. Fourth, I want to be remembered for being a good citizen in local and national affairs.”