Dr. Leo J. Miedler, 1927-2012: Retired dermatologist ‘was a force of nature’

Dr. Leo Joseph Miedler.
Dr. Leo Joseph Miedler.

Dr. Leo J. Miedler, who for 30 years had a West Toledo dermatology practice and in the spirit of community service treated Sisters of Notre Dame and residents at the Miami Children's Home, died Dec. 1 at Swan Creek Retirement Village, where he was in rehabilitative care. He was 85.

The family did not report a cause of death.

He retired about a decade ago, but remained active in committees of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County. The academy's Web site lists him as a current member of the judicial and internal affairs commission.

“He loved serving and volunteering in that capacity,” his wife, Sally, said.

Dr. Miedler, a Maumee resident, treated patients for various skin conditions at the office.

“He really loved treating the patients — meeting new people and helping them,” his daughter Susie said. “It's kind of simple, but he was so happy at work.”

He had a particular rapport with his teenagers, his wife said, and he was stopped and thanked regularly by former patients.

Each week on his day off he visited the Miami Children's Home in Maumee and over the decades cared for more than 1,700 of the home's young charges. He got to know sisters in the Notre Dame community when his children were students at Lial and Ladyfield schools, and he offered them his care.

“He followed his own path [and] expressed both his religious views and his views of the world through his care of his patients and his love for his family and his community,” said his son Dr. John Miedler, a dermatopathologist. Another son, Dr. Michael Miedler, is an infectious disease specialist.

“He's the reason I am the person I am and the reason I practice dermatopathology,” son John said. “When I think about how to approach a problem or how to treat an individual, I think about what my dad would do in that situation.

“He was a force of nature — not loud in words, so much as in deeds,” son John said. “He was very intelligent. He was perceptive and understood people and genuinely cared about the well being of [his] patients. That's what made him so special as a physician.”

He was born March 19, 1927, in Detroit to Josephine and Leo Miedler and was a graduate of De LaSalle Collegiate High School, the University of Detroit, and the Wayne State University medical school. He was a captain in the Air Force and served as a dermatologist based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

His training continued at hospitals in Boston and Cincinnati. He completed his residency at the University of Michigan, where he later taught and treated patients at the student health center, his daughter said.

He took up downhill skiing in his early 40s and met his wife at the Ann Arbor Ski Club. They married and settled in Maumee as he went into practice with Dr. Jerome Kimmelman in Toledo.

He appreciated literature and fine music. He and his wife attended Toledo Symphony concerts and were regulars when great orchestras performed at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor for the annual May Festival.

Most of his pastimes required vigor. He swam daily at the Toledo Club and played in the squash leagues there. He was part of a Sunday morning bicycling group that toured the Toledo area. The late Phil LeBoutillier was a companion in the Toledo Rowing Club as they plied the Maumee River. Dr. Miedler's wife was a competitive rower too. He sailed and windsurfed and bicycled. The couple took scuba vacations to the South Pacific and the Caribbean. A visit to a museum while on holiday would be followed by time at the beach.

“We did a lot of things together. He was always open to trying those new things,” his wife said. “He always said you should take care of mind, body, and soul.”

He was a member of St. Joseph Church, Maumee.

Surviving are his wife, Sally, whom he married Dec. 24, 1969; daughters, Abigail Traul and Susan Heywood; sons, Dr. Michael and Dr. John Miedler; sister, MaryAnne Schraudt, and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Sunday in the Coyle Funeral Home, where a rosary service is to begin at 7 p.m. in the mortuary. Services will be private.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Symphony; the Christ Child Society of Toledo, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.