William Norman von der Lehr (Bill) died peacefully at his Fort Walton Beach, FL, home surrounded by his three loving children on November 13, 2021. Bill was born on June 9, 1927, in Petersburg, Indiana, to Norman and Sarah Elizabeth von der Lehr. After he graduated from high school in 1945, he immediately joined the Navy, and later served in the Army Medical Corps in Japan for a total of three years in the military. Bill went on to study at Wabash College where he graduated with a degree in Zoology in 1951. In 1955, he earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) from Loyola University in Chicago and went on to open his private practice in Rochester, Indiana, where he practiced for 14 years. Bill’s passion for dentistry led him into a rewarding teaching career. While being a professor at the University of South Carolina, he earned a Masters of Education and Administration from The Citadel in 1971. Later he served as a professor and administrator at Louisiana State University and the University of Texas. He was an active member of several professional organizations including the Academy of Operative Dentistry. Bill married his first wife, Mary Anne Knight, in Evansville, Indiana, in 1950. They were married for 46 wonderful years and she was the mother of his three children: Beth, Lori, and John. Following the death of Mary Anne, he married his long-time friend, Martha DeBruler, in 1998 in Rochester, Indiana, and their passion for traveling took them around the world where they lived life to the fullest. Bill was a man of wisdom, honor, and respect. He was a colorful storyteller and had a side of sarcasm that usually came with a witty joke. Bill was selfless, and he loved his family and friends with all his heart. He will forever be remembered. Bill was predeceased by his wife of 46 years, Mary Anne Knight, and wife of 19 years, Martha DeBruler. Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Beth (Rickey) Duet; daughter Lori von der Lehr; son John von der Lehr; grandchildren Melissa (Brian) Kellner, Mallory McKnight, Daniel McKnight, Christopher McKnight, Sarah Duet (Kirk Reedstrom), Sophia von der Lehr, and Jack von der Lehr. A Celebration of Bill’s Extraordinary Life will be held on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, at 11:00 AM at El Matador Condominiums in The Lounge. A reception will immediately follow. To share memories, express condolences, and sign the guestbook please visit www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity in his honor.
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