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Martha Rohner van der Vlugt ’32

Martha Rohner van der Vlugt ’32, September 14, 1999, in Silver Spring, Maryland. After attending Reed for three years, she transferred to the University of Oregon to pursue premedical and medical studies. She received a master’s in bacteriology and an MD in 1937, and she interned at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. She married Jerry van der Vlugt shortly after graduation, and together they set up practice in Grant County, Oregon, a rural area near John Day. She practiced obstetrics and pediatrics, living on a cattle ranch and raising their four children, and often making house calls in a small airplane. When her husband died in 1964, she spent two years in Switzerland, her birthplace, and then joined the State Department in Washington, D.C., as the first woman to be appointed as a foreign service medical officer. She was posted to Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, and Senegal, for which she received a Meritorious Honor Award. After retiring in 1973, she moved to Silver Spring, Maryland and joined the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Retirement Programs, where she reviewed disability and special retirement claims. She retired in 1992. In 1997, she visited Portland to accept the Charles Preuss Outstanding Alumni Award from the Oregon Health Sciences University. In retirement, she enjoyed taking advantage of D.C.’s many cultural opportunities and remained active in professional organizations. She is survived by two daughters and two sons.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2000

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