John and Leah Atwater

John is from Westchester County, N.Y. and Leah grew up in Midland, MI. They met as undergraduate students at Oberlin. Both are licensed pilots and have instrument ratings as well. They have traveled to 80 countries and all the lower 48. Highlights of their travels are 2 years working with the UN in Sierra Leone and 6 months in India where John was on the Medical College Faculty. They have 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Leah is now 86, John is 87. John is totally deaf, but has about 50% hearing capacity with his electronic device. They most recently went on safari in Africa. Leah got her pilot’s license when she was in her 50s! John says “she is an excellent pilot!”

John was a Public Health Officer in New Haven after having earned his doctorate in public health at John Hopkins University. He also has an MD from the University of Michigan. Leah spent 14 years in the Chemistry Department at the University of Michigan where she was in charge of student services. She was also a violinist in the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

John’s father was most influential in leading him towards a career in medicine and he credits one of his professors as most influential in guiding him as a young doctor. Leah singled out Nelson Mandela as one of her most admired persons. She noted his lack of bitterness following his release from prison and his leadership in rebuilding South Africa.

Both Leah and John are former tennis players and now find pickle ball a great way to exercise while enjoying the chance to meet a variety of people. They play only about an hour at a time. John says endurance is his main challenge. Leah says getting up to the net is her biggest challenge. John has been playing now for 7 years and this is Leah’s second year of pickle ball. Both like the informality of the game and the fun it provides.

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