Dr. Lloyd Herbert Maurer September 13th, 2009

Dr. Lloyd Herbert Maurer, a man we are proud to know as a classmate – and for many of us a good friend as well -- passed away on the evening of September 13th, 2009, at his home in Norwich, VT after battling recurrent cancer. He died close to the college and in the Upper Valley he loved so much, surrounded by close friends and family. He didn’t take his leave until all of them had arrived. He was 70 years old.

Herb was born in New York City on October 17th, 1938 to Lloyd and Natalie Maurer and spent his childhood living in Forest Hills. He spent his summers with his family at their farm in Plainfield, Massachusetts, a place he dearly loved all of his life. He attended PS 101 then graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1956. He went on to Dartmouth College where he majored in zoology and began a lifelong pursuit of advancing understanding of the world through scientific research. After graduation in 1960 he attended Albany Medical College, graduating in 1964. It was here that he met Sandra Elin Liljeholm. They were married from 1962 to 1984. They had 2 children together, Erik born in July 1963 and Julie born in May 1965. They moved to the Upper Valley in 1964. Herb did his medicine residency at Dartmouth (Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and the VA hospital) 1964-1966.

He joined the United States Air Force, became a flight medical officer and spent a year 1967-68 at Nha Trang Air Force Base in Vietnam before receiving an honorable discharge. He returned to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center completing his residency and doing a fellowship in medical oncology. He was appointed an Instructor in Medicine in 1973 and worked in the Dartmouth medical system until he retired from there in 2000. It was here he met his second wife, Dr. Letha Elaine Mills, whom he married in 1984. They had 3 sons, Adam, born in June 1986, Jason, born in October 1987 and Stephen, born in March 1990.They again renewed their vows in 2009, after 25 years of a loving and devoted marriage.

Herb was interested in clinical research for his entire career, publishing his first academic paper in 1967. He was the principal investigator for research grants in training, cancer control, and lung cancer treatment. He went on to publish more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, numerous abstracts and book chapters. He was nationally known for his pioneering work in the field of lung cancer treatment. He loved teaching medical students, residents and fellows, sharing his renowned clinical expertise, always with honesty, humor and a good deal of down-to-earth bluntness. He wanted to be seen as nothing more or less than who he was. He came to the hospital in boots and flannel shirts on winter weekends if that is what the weather required. One patient was known to remark, "I keep wondering where he parked his horse when he came to work today". His deep voice boomed with love and strength.

After Herb retired from DHMC in 2000, he joined his wife, also a medical oncologist, at Mt. Ascutney Medical Hospital and Health Center in Windsor, Vermont and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vermont, working part-time. He also enjoyed his more recent time working in oncology at the White River Junction, Vermont VA hospital before fully retiring in 2009.

He was known for his ability to inspire those he met for any length of time, his remarkably perceptive nature, and his huge heart filled with a boundless love for his patients, his friends, and his family. He was in equal measures devoted to his family ,friends and his career and colleagues, and he encouraged all in whatever they would undertake, making them believe with all their heart that they would succeed. He had a passion for gardening, woodworking, cooking, painting and reading and has passed on his passions to his children, being ever the teacher.

His smile and big bear hugs to anyone who needed them will never be forgotten. He had a great gift for making each person he came in contact with feel cared for and protected. But the man who was known for his bear hugs and booming good nature was also a man who was in touch with the small and mysterious. Near the end of his life, it is told, a hummingbird happened to fly into Herb’s and Letha’s home. Herb was able to catch it in his hand. For twenty minutes the hummingbird was cradled gently there until it calmed down and stopped frantically beating its little wings. Herb then went to the porch to release the tiny bird to resume its free flight. As Herb spent more time in his last year on the porch – book in his lap and blanket around his shoulders, the hummingbird would return to sip nectar from the nearby flowers and then to hover close to Herb. They recognized and new each other – a friendship had formed between a bear of a man with a handlebar mustache and this tiny visitor.

As Herb was dying, Letha was counseled by a friend to choose a symbol or a form by which Herb might present himself and be recognizable to her after his death. They agreed it would be the hummingbird, and though I have knowing way of knowing for sure, I believe that when spring returns again to the Upper Valley a hummingbird may grace their garden and hover near the empty chair.

Herb is survived by his wife, Letha, and his sons Erik, Adam, Jason and Stephen, and daughter Julie; his brother Allen, and sister Cynthia Barnard; daughter-in-law Mary and son-in-law Tom; nephew Ethan; nieces Christa, Beth and Jennifer; grandchildren Charlotte, Keating, Madigan, Hector, Ebbe and soon-to-be-born granddaughter; brothers-in-law David Barnard, Richard and Clifford Mills, sisters-in-law Glenda Maurer, Marilyn and Nancy Mills; and numerous cousins, grandnieces and grandnephews and friends.

A memorial service was held for him on Saturday, September 26 at the Norwich Congregational Church with a celebration afterwards at Pierces Country Inn in Etna, NH.