Lee K. Hermann, pathologist, pilot, artist and retired United States Air Force colonel died suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday at his home in Cody. He was 83.
Born in Valley, Nebraska, May 4, 1936, to Harold Thomas Hermann and Catherine Morgan Hermann, Lee grew up in Lincoln and graduated from the University of Nebraska where he received both his bachelor and medical degrees. His two older brothers, Gordon and Harland, were also both physicians.
During his senior year in medical school, Lee married Janet Lytle and joined the U.S. Air Force. He spent a decade serving in Arkansas, Texas (where he completed a residency in pathology at Lackland Air Base), England (on an exchange with the Royal Air Force) and Colorado. He remained in the reserves until 1996, retiring as a full colonel.
In 1972, Lee moved to Cody, accepting a position as the pathologist for West Park Hospital, which included providing medical services and oversight for the other hospitals in the Basin. After several years, the newly lowered national speed limit of 55 mph convinced him it was time to learn how to fly. Flying became a lifelong passion, and he would log over 4,700 hours in the air.
Lee was actively engaged in his community, both professionally and personally. He served as president of the state medical society, as well as on the board of West Park Hospital. He was a trustee for 10 years at Northwest College, including a stint as chairman, and also served on the board of the Yellowstone Regional Airport.
Having been an Eagle Scout himself, he spent several years leading camping trips and arranging pinewood derbies as the scout master of Troop 54. He spent two decades with Park County Search and Rescue, most often as a pilot.
Lee was a hunter and fly fisherman, though later he would spend more time photographing wildlife. He learned to row a raft and took his family on many wilderness whitewater adventures, including rivers in Idaho, Utah and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
In retirement he was able to devote more time to art and his interests included painting, photography and sculpture. He was a devoted birder, though he stopped keeping a list many years ago. Most recently he had rediscovered the joys of bicycling and put nearly 2,000 kilometers on an electric mountain bike.
Lee’s life was characterized by intellectual curiosity, a sense of joy for each new discovery or life experience, and a genuine appreciation for the connections and relationships he formed along the way. Underlying it all, though, was his profound sense of gratitude and good fortune to find, marry, and navigate life with Jan, his wife of nearly 60 years.
He is survived by his wife Jan and sons, Matthew (Leigh Taggart), Rossland, British Columbia; Mark, New York, New York; and Luke, New York, New York; nephews Tom (Terry) Hermann, Sturgis, South Dakota; and Richard Hermann, Los Angeles, California; and niece Lucy (Gareth) Moore Stevens, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and grandchildren Nicholas Hermann, Beckett Hermann and Viviene Hermann, New York, New York.
A memorial service will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in Cody on July 22 at 2 p.m., to be followed by an open house at the Hermann home.
To honor Lee’s passion for travel and years of service to Northwest College, the family requests that donations be made to the Student Travel Endowment at Northwest College Foundation, 231 W. Sixth St, Powell, WY 82435 or online at www.nwcollegefoundation.org/giving/give-now/ in memory of Dr. Lee Hermann.
Condolences to the family may be sent on Lee’s memory page at www.BallardFH.com.