Stanley M. Truhlsen

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Truhlsen attends a family reunion in Blair, Nebraska in 1988.

Stanley M. Truhlsen (in full: Stanley Marshall Truhlsen, Sr., born November 13, 1920 in Herman, Nebraska) is an American ophthalmologist, university professor and philanthropist in Omaha who has served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as a governor of the American College of Surgeons and led a number of Nebraska organizations.

Life and career[edit]

He is a native of Herman, Nebraska, where his parents were Henry "Spike" Truhlsen (1891–1970) and Lola Marshall Truhlsen (1897–1979). His paternal grandfather Niels Truedsson (1847–1921) left Scania in Sweden in the 1870s and came to the United States via Germany, settling in Blair, Nebraska with his surname anglicized as Truhlsen.[1]

Stanley Truhlsen completed undergraduate work in 1941 and received his MD degree at the University of Nebraska in 1944. He then completed his internship and residency at Albany Hospital in New York before entering the army in 1946. He joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was made a full professor there in 1974, got the university's Alumni Achievement Award in 1986 and remains its emeritus. In 1965 was elected to the then 100-year-old American Ophthalmological Society.

He served on the board of directors and executive committee of Nebraska Blue Cross-Blue Shield 1970-1993 and, also in 1970, was on the board of the Health Planning Council of the Midlands. He has also been on the boards of Omaha Home for Boys, the Nebraska Society to Prevent Blindness and the Omaha Citizens Assembly.

In 1983 Truhlsen became president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology with which he had been associated since 1951, when he had returned to Omaha from a residency at Barnes Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis. He became an associate editor and later editor of the Academy’s journal Transactions.

Other organizations which Truhlsen has served as president include the American Eye Study Club, the Nebraska Academy of Ophthalmology, Omaha Medical Society, the medical staffs of Omaha’s Clarkson (1972) and Immanuel Hospitals, the Exchange Club of Omaha and Rotary of Omaha. He has been on the board of councillors for the Nebraska Medical Association (1981) and president of the University of Nebraska chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honorary society. Clarkson Hospital honored him in 1985 with its Outstanding Physician Award. The Nebraska Affiliate of the National Society to Prevent Blindness gave him its People of Vision Award in 1986.

While he was a governor of the American College of Surgeons in 1985, Truhlsen’s home state elected him to the honorary position of King of Quivira as Ak-Sar-Ben XCI.[2] His first connection with Ak-Sar-Ben was in his childhood when his father had served as an ambassador of the organization and brought Truhlsen and his young friends to Omaha for its events for boys.

The University of Nebraska College of Medical Alumni gave Stanley M. Truhlsen Sr. its first Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award in 1989.[3] That year he also had the Omaha Health Citizen of the Year Award from the Combined Health Agencies Drive. In 2001 he received the Lucien Howe Medal from the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS), one of the most prestigious awards in ophthalmology and the only award given by the AOS.[4] From 1998 to 2010 he was also on the board of Durham Museum.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, where Truhlsen was on the faculty as early as 1951, gave him its Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and in 2009 announced that it would build a multimillion-dollar eye institute, and the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute opened in 2013. Truhlsen provided a key donation for the project.[5]

Truhlsen has two sons and two daughters by his first wife Ruth née Haney who died in 1976. In 1981 he married Dorothy D. (Dottie) Johnson of Denison, Iowa.


  1. ^ Niels Truhlsen at FamSAC
  2. ^ Omaha World-Herald 1985-10-28. Editorial
  3. ^ Omaha World-Herald 1989-11-06
  4. ^ UNMC bio Archived 2014-06-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Omaha World-Herald 2009-12-21 pp. 1-2.