Dr. Donald Gene Luther passed away in his sleep on December 4, 2023, at the age of 87. As the son of Euil Clifton Luther and Offie Bell Dosier Luther, Dr. Luther “Gene” was born and raised on a cotton farm in Elk City, Oklahoma, the middle child of five. He proudly served in the United States Air Force as a jet engine mechanic and attended Oklahoma State University, earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. In 1958, he married the love of his life, later moving to Louisiana after graduation to practice Veterinary Medicine and start a family. He then earned doctoral degrees in Microbiology and Biochemistry/Virology from Louisiana State University, charting an illustrious career at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine culminating in his tenure as Professor Emeritus. After retiring from LSU, he established the biotechnology firm University Products, which produces a bovine vaccine he invented as a research scientist at LSU. Its worldwide legacy of saving the lives of cattle will endure long after his passing.
Outside of his work at LSU, Gene opened his home and his heart to students, friends, family and those in need, leaving a lifelong imprint on everyone he met. He was a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather, brother, friend, neighbor, colleague, teacher and mentor. As a man with many talents, he proudly built his home with the help of his children that displays his beautiful nature paintings and drawings throughout. As the center of attention with a large personality, Gene always had a good joke, was a wonderful storyteller, and enjoyed a little sarcasm. He had a great sense of humor and his smile warmed many hearts. He especially loved watching western movies and countless hours of bull riding competitions at home with his family. Gene was a huge LSU sports fan and could regularly be seen on televised games, sitting in the front row behind home plate at Alex Box Stadium. During home games, he often gave words of encouragement to the baseball players and advice for the umpires and coaching staff. During one such game, LSU hit a fly ball near home plate, two players from the other team tried to make the easy catch and Gene hollered “I GOT IT” causing neither player to catch the ball (Geaux Tigers!). Of the LSU pre-vet and veterinary students he mentored and colleagues he worked with, many became lifelong friends. He was a role model and inspiration to countless students and earned the love and respect of so many others.
Dr. Donald Gene Luther is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, Tama Wiggins Luther, four children and their spouses: Euil Eugene Luther and his wife Sherry Green Luther of Monroe, Louisiana; Donald Gene Luther, Jr. and his wife Stacey Harrison Luther of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Gene Eujohn Luther and his wife Lisa Anne Plaisance Luther of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tama Geen Luther Keller and her husband Jason Robert Keller of Missouri City, Texas; seven grandchildren and their spouses: Brandy Nicole Luther, Clifton Eugene Luther and his wife Shannon Luther, Katharin Elaine Luther Lindsey and her husband Steven Lindsey, John Austin Luther, Ashlanne Noelle Luther, Christian Luther Keller, Brantley Grace Luther; five great grandchildren: Cannon Gene Luther, Kellan Eugene Luther, Cullen Green Luther, Kai Orion Lindsey, Miya Juliet Lindsey; and one brother, C.B. Luther and his wife Joyce Luther from Perryton, Texas. He is preceded in death by his sisters Vera Parham and her husband Paul Parham of Elk City, Oklahoma, Lola Warren and her husband Walker Warren of Elk City. Oklahoma, and Margaret Hepola and her surviving husband Gene Hepola from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the following for the loving care and support during his struggle with vascular Dementia with Alzheimer’s disease that robbed him of his memories during the final stage of his life: St. Joseph Hospice and The Carpenter House; Home Instead; Dr. Matthew Chamberlain and Eliane Albino. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation at Resthaven Funeral Home, 11817 Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge on Friday, December 8, 2023, with visitation beginning at 8:30 am, followed by a service officiated by family friend L.E. Day at 10:30 am. Interment will follow in Resthaven’s Garden of Honor. In lieu of flowers, please spend your time and money making memories with your family and friends or donate to a charity of your choosing.
A very special in lieu of flower request for niece Lori Parham Baldridge to make a donation to help the re-elect Donald J. Trump fund (Pops wanted to remind people that voting is so easy that even dead people can do it.*)
*US Senator John Kennedy