SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Life was full for Dr. Norman Lewiston, a pioneering surgeon, teacher and researcher at Stanford University. But no one knew just how full it was until his death revealed that he had three wives.
"The whole thing is totally incredible, unreal," said Lewiston's third wife, Robyn L. Phelps, of the San Diego suburb of La Mesa. "I can't figure out why -- or how -- he did it. I truly believe he loved all three of us, but was incapable of letting go of any of the relationships."
At the university's Children's Hospital, Lewiston directed the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic and helped develop the first heart-lung transplantation program for children with the fatal disease.
And on top of his myriad responsibilities, he kept three separate home lives a secret.
Now, Stanford officials are trying to chase a trail left by one of their star professors.
The hospital board hired auditors to review Lewiston's financial records at the institution after the discovery of canceled checks made out to at least one of his wives from a cystic fibrosis research fund Lewiston controlled, Stanford spokesman Spyros Andrelpoulos said.
University officials said this week that they are still waiting for results of the audit.
Lewiston's bigamist lifestyle emerged in the days following his Aug. 6 death of a heart attack. Though Phelps lived in Southern California, the other two wives live near Stanford, which is in Palo Alto.
Diana B. Lewiston, 52, of Palo Alto became his wife 31 years ago, and it was in their home that Lewiston died.
In 1985, he married Katy B. Lewiston, 44, of nearby Los Altos, telling her he was divorced. In 1989, he married Phelps, 42, who also believed he was divorced.
Phelps said she learned of Lewiston's bigamy in June after suspecting as much for months. She never talked to him again, and her attorney tried to get an annulment, but the 52-year-old Lewiston died before signing the agreement, Phelps said.
Katy Lewiston learned of the other marriages the day Lewiston died.
"You could have knocked me over," she said. "I lost 12 pounds in seven days. What do you think you think? You can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't breathe. And you love somebody so much. It was really hard."
Lewiston had no children with Katy Lewiston or Phelps.