Dr. Donald Fred Mahnke

Photo by Debbie Rose
Photo by Debbie Rose

(January 19, 1928 - November 22, 2007)

Casper Star Tribune
December 5, 2007

The memorial service for Dr. Donald F. Mahnke, 79, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007, at Mount Hope Lutheran Church with Pastor John Hill officiating. The service will be followed by a reception at the church. All are welcome to attend.

He died Nov. 22, 2007, in Louisville, Colo., from natural causes.

He was born Jan. 19, 1928, in Casper, to Frank and Hulda Ester Gertrude Mahnke. He grew up in Casper and on a ranch near Keeline. As a child, he knew he always wanted to become a physician and practice medicine in Wyoming like Dr. Reeves of Casper. Dr. Reeves was not only his doctor, but a personal friend who played cards and spent time with his young patient, inspiring him to pursue medicine.

During World War II, he served as an Army staff sergeant (1946-1948) and was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict (1951), interrupting his college education.

He attended the University of Wyoming, earning his bachelor of science degree in 1952. Cornell University Medical College in New York City accepted him into their program, where he received his Doctorate of Medicine (1956). As a graduate student, he spent a summer on the Navajo Indian reservation providing medical services.

He completed his internship and general surgery residency at the University of Oregon Medical School Hospitals and Clinics in Portland, Ore., (1957 to 1961). During that time, he decided to return to Casper to set up his medical practice.

He met Mary Lou Tripp while he was in Portland and married her on Jan. 17, 1959, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He returned to his beloved Wyoming between blizzards in October 1961, where he opened his medical practice.

During his 27 years of practice in Casper, his office was in the Casper Clinic the majority of the time. The remaining portion of his 30-year career, he traveled throughout the United States covering other surgical practices, including several in Wyoming.

He was a beloved family member who was a care giver, advisor, provider, and role model for his extended family. He felt responsible for all family members from grandparents through grandchildren, to nephews and nieces who were always welcome in his home. He supported everyone to meet their individual needs.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Louise Mahnke of Casper; three children, Lynn Brimmer, Gail Mahnke, and Carol Palomo; mother, Hulda Mahnke, sister, Francis Park; and five grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his father and his brother, Dan Mahnke.

Memorials include Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp, Blue Envelope of Casper, Don Mahnke Memorial Fund, and Mount Hope Lutheran Church, in lieu of flowers.

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