Jay Stauffer Lehman '62

Submitted by Craig H. Morgan

From The Olio

125 Edgewood Road. Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Prepared at Lower Merion Senior High School
Phi Gamma Chi, Social Chairman
Sailing Club, Track.
Masquers, Outing Club

Jay Stauffer Lehman '62 died May 15, 1978.
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Remembrance from Amherst Magazine

While still rising in an already brilliant career in research medicine, Dr. Jay Stauffer Lehman died tragically at his home in New York City on May 15, 1978.

According to newspaper reports, an incurable neurological disease brought to a halt Jay’s quest to control the parasitic tropical disease Schistosomiasis. He was, at the time of his death, a global authority on diseases of the Third World and the director of the tropical diseases research program of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Jay’s research was conducted on three continents, and his publications were numerous. In 1975 he was in China with an American Schistosomiasis delegation sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences. In 1968, and again in 1971, he was in Cairo as a medical researcher while serving as lieutenant commander in the navy. His work had also taken him to South America, and to Labrador with the Grenfell Foundation.

After majoring in biology at Amherst, Jay took his medical degree at Cornell University in 1966. He was awarded a degree in Public Health from Harvard in 1972.

His Class and his College extend sympathy and condolences to Eleanor and her son, J. S. Lehman III.

Remembrance from our Reunion Book

Facts: Son of Amherst; MD degree from Cornell in 1966; physician / researcher who dedicated his life to tropical medicine, and particularly to schistosomiasis, "a parasitic, and usually tropical disease that afficts people who come into contact with infested waters. He published numerous articles and conducted research on three continents." (NY Times, May 18, 1978). Married Eleanor Miller of Philadelphia and had one son named Jess. Took his life during the spring of 1978.

Observations: I was fortunate enough to be Jay's friend through all our years at Amherst. I recall reading one of his English 1 papers and being stunned that anyone could think so clearly and express those thoughts with such clarity and elegance. I later asked him to read an English 1 paper of mine on which Mr. Pritchard had written, "Ho hum; a perfunctory effort." About half way through his reading, Jay burst into laughter and said, "This is so sarcastic, such satire – sort of like Swift's 'A Modest Proposal'. Mr. Pritchard must be a humorless man." I ran down to Converse to find out what "A Modest Proposal" was all about. Thanks to Jay, I felt a lot better about English 1!

More Observations: I remember entering our living room junior year and seeing Jay sitting on our sofa with the most rapt and intensely focused facial expression I had ever seen, as he was grappling with Organic Chemistry. He was unaware that I had come into the room. Later, Jay was the best man at my wedding with Renie Stifel, and he gave the most touching toast I had ever heard. (I suspect I was biased as far as Jay was concerned.) I recall in the spring of senior year leaving Amherst to drive down to Ocean City, New Jersey to see what remained of each of our families' vacation homes after a hurricane. Nothing remained of the Lehman house; we found the weathervane about two blocks inland and parts of Jay's motorcycle, and nothing more. Neither said a word.

And More: As a senior, Jay's faculty advisor asked him about his thesis topic, noting that Jay had a Phi Beta Kappa grade average. Jay remarked, "There are too many courses I want to take now that pre-med requirements are completed. Besides, I see no point in my adding to the already mountainous pile of mediocre scholarship." How true.

What I most poignantly and sadly recall were Jay's dark moods during all of our four years together at Amherst. They could last for a day, or several days, or longer. His mother was committed for life to a hospital for people with incurable mental illness when Jay was in elementary school. In recent years, I've been reading the books of David Foster Wallace who was about 20 years behind us at Amherst. David also thought and wrote beautifully, and suffered from severe depression. David took large quantities of medications to abate his condition until they no longer brought relief; Jay did not. Jay survived a mere 37 years; David 50. What monumental losses for their friends, families and humanity.

--David Smith '62