Russell Seaman, D.O.’65, sometimes joked that he was a quiet person because his wife of 50 years, Emy, and daughter, Nicole Seaman Kaiser, are “such talkers he couldn’t get a word in edgewise,” Nicole says. The more likely reason was that during his career as an anesthesiologist, he was known for his empathetic and thoughtful listening skills as well as his expert care.
“He was very caring and compassionate. Other doctors would request him to give the anesthetic on their patients, family members and even themselves,” she says. “He had a playful side, too – he always had a joke on standby, and he was a big practical joker.”
Dr. Seaman, who died on May 6, 2022, demonstrated deep compassion in another way with his gift to DMU’s Purple & Proud Campaign: He set up a qualified charitable donation from an IRA through his estate plan that will establish the Russell Seaman Jr., D.O.’65 Endowed Scholarship Fund at DMU. His gift is especially kind-hearted in that preference for the scholarship will be given to first-generation college graduates who – just like he did – are continuing their education as first-year students in the University’s doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) program.
“Twenty years ago, Dad talked to my brother, Scott, and me about his wishes for his estate, and one of them was to support DMU,” Nicole says. “He said he would really love to help someone realize their dream of going to medical school.”
Dr. Seaman practiced at hospitals in Portland, ME, and then in New Berlin and Watertown, WI. Nicole remembers that he invited children who were patients to pick out one of the famously scented Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers lip balms he offered, so that would be what they smelled immediately before being anesthetized.
“He was really considerate that way,” Nicole says.
He never forgot his own experiences as a first-generation college student. His father was a butcher, and his mother ran their modest grocery store.
“Money was tight. He said he’d never eat another Banquet pot pie because that’s what he lived on in college,” she recalls. “He never really talked about how he paid for school, but he said his two sisters would occasionally send him five dollars when they could. That’s how we came up with the idea for the scholarship. He hoped that some of the recipients, if they’re in position to do so someday, would also pay it forward and help someone else.”
Dr. Seaman also paid it forward by paying for his two nephews to pursue their careers in medicine, one as a podiatrist and the other as a nurse anesthetist.
The alumnus also never forgot his gratitude toward DMU.
“He felt so grateful for his education, the opportunities it presented to him and that our family had a really nice lifestyle because of that education and his job,” Nicole adds.