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Donald Doughman, M.D. Obituary

Donald  Doughman, M.D.
Donald Doughman, M.D.

May 2, 2016
Resided in Edina, MN


Donald J. Doughman, M.D., beloved husband of Carol (Failla) Doughman, died peacefully on Monday, May 2, 2016 at N.C. Little Hospice in Edina, MN.

He was born in Des Moines, Iowa to the late Edward Gilmore Doughman and Edith Marie Doughman. The youngest of three children, he was preceded in death by his brother, Edward, Jr. and his sister, Eleanor.

Dr. Doughman grew up in the small town of Bussey, Iowa and matriculated at Drake University from which he graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education, majoring in cello and piano. After graduation he taught music to high school students in Iowa for two years; however, an uncle, who was a physician, inspired him from an early age to pursue a career in medicine. Ultimately, he applied to medical school and in 1961 he graduated with honors from the University of Iowa Medical School.

Following his ophthalmology residency at the University of Iowa, Dr. Doughman served his military obligation as chief ophthalmologist at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts where he met his future wife, Carol. In 1970 he completed his military service, after which he accepted a fellowship at Harvard University's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in diseases of the cornea, specializing in corneal transplantation, thus beginning a long and distinguished career in academic medicine.

In 1972 he joined the University of Minnesota Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant professor and in 1975 the department promoted him to associate professor. From 1979 to 1990 Dr. Doughman served as chairman of the department. In addition, he served as medical director of the Lions Eye Bank for 36 years from 1979 to 2015.

Dr. Doughman was a pioneer in research, particularly with respect to corneal preservation and transplantation techniques. He led a team of enterprising physicians, scientists and students who by the early 1980s had developed a technique that dramatically extended the amount of time that donor corneas could be stored and successfully transplanted. This research ultimately changed corneal transplantation from an emergency operation to one that hospitals could schedule, thus enhancing the lives of innumerable individuals who regained the ability to see. No longer is there a waiting list for patients who are candidates for corneal transplants.

Dr. Doughman was a co-investigator on early photorefractive keratectomy studies, which led to present-day Lasik procedures. He served as a board member and president of the Contact Lens Association of America. He finished his career by serving as chief ophthalmologist at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Dr. Doughman volunteered his time and expertise for Orbis International, a non-profit organization that performed eye surgeries in various developing countries. Along with the distinguished Dr. Lowell A. Gess, he performed free eye surgeries in Sierra Leone. He trained over 200 residents and fellows, in addition to numerous medical students and medical technicians. Dr. Doughman also authored or co-authored more than 100 scholarly articles in dozens of peer-reviewed journals. He performed countless surgeries and assisted thousands of patients in improving or restoring their vision. Dr. Doughman's passion for teaching and counseling generations of ophthalmologists who followed him was equaled only by his passion for patient care.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Doughman's colleagues recognized his work through a number of awards and honoraria. They included the Eye Bank Association of America's R. Townley Paton Award in 1989, Honor Awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1979 and 1990, the Lions International Helen Keller Sight Award in 1997, the Lions International Melvin Jones Fellowship in 1998 and the Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology's Budd Appleton Award for Service to Ophthalmology in 2013. He was also a long-time member of the prestigious American Ophthalmological Society.

In addition to his career, Dr. Doughman was a life-long lover of music and the arts. He and his wife, Carol, were season ticket holders to the Minnesota Orchestra and the Guthrie Theater. Until the final months of his life he enjoyed playing the piano and he took great pride in watching his grandson, Blake, following in his footsteps. He also loved to travel, spend time with his family and friends and dote on his beautiful grandchildren.

He will be dearly missed and will always be remembered for the extraordinary impact his work, his intelligence, his humility and his good humor had on his patients, colleagues and students and, mostly, for his generosity and deep love for his family.

Survivors in addition to his wife, Carol, include his four sons, David and his wife, Nicole, and their children, Audrey and Blake; Bill and his wife, Nancy; Jim and his wife, Heej Ko, and sons Ryan and Alex; and Tom and his wife, Lori, and daughters Mariah and Hannah.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church, in Waltham, MA on Saturday, May 28, 2016, followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery, Waltham. A Memorial Mass will be held at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations in his name be made to the Ascension Church, 1723 Bryant Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55411 ( or to the Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 17th St. N., Minneapolis, MN, 55403 ( or to the National Brain Tumor Society, 55 Chapel St., Ste. 200, Newton, MA 02458 (




Basilica of Saint Mary
88 N 17th Street
Minneapolis, MN US 55403
Saturday, September 10, 2016
11:30 AM - 12:00 AM

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