John Flaig Lingenfelter
John Flaig Lingenfelter
  • January 26, 1920 - June 6, 2017
  • La Jolla, California

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John Flaig Lingenfelter

January 26, 1920 – June 6, 2017

John Lingenfelter, PhD and Mph, passed away in his La Jolla home at the age of 97. He is fondly remembered by many for his cheerful disposition, brilliant intelligence, and his keen interest in gardening, koi ponds, ballroom dancing and physical fitness.

John was born in Altoona, PA, the only son of Albert Bergoine and Katharine Flaig Lingenfelter. He had one sister, Henrietta, who passed in the 1950s. His wife of 61 years, Iva Noal Lingenfelter, predeceased John in 2006. John is survived by one child, Marilyn K. James and son-in-law Richard A. Phetteplace.

John earned a BS in biochemistry from Penn State University in 1941, a PhD in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1945, and a Master’s degree in Public Health from UC-Berkeley in 1968 when he was totally blind.

After graduation from Cornell, John served as a Captain in the US Army stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and was Chief Toxicologist for the entire European Theater. In 1948, John was critically injured in a laboratory explosion which left him 100% disabled - totally blind with serious burns and glass injuries. John was not expected to survive. He and Iva were medevac’d from Germany back to the US and he spent over a year at Walter Reed Hospital recovering from his wounds.

In 1951, John, Iva and 8-month old Marilyn moved from Philadelphia, PA, to Miami, FL, where John taught part-time at University of Miami Medical School. In 1967, John and his family moved to Berkeley, CA so John could pursue a graduate degree in Public Health, graduating with honors. In 1971, he and Iva moved to La Jolla, CA.

While in Miami as well as San Diego, John maintained a keen interest in ballroom dancing and spent many years taking dance lessons, specializing in Latin dances. In his 50s, John also became seriously interested in physical fitness and for several decades ran with sighted runners, went tandem biking with his son-in-law, and pursued weight lifting and rowing (into his mid-90s). John had two guide dogs over the course of several years, Reggie and Jewel that allowed John to maintain his independence and travel both locally and nationally on his own.

Military services will be held at Miramar National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the San Diego Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are suggested.