Obituary: Virginia Herrmann, MD


Dear colleagues,

I am sad to inform you of the passing of our dear colleague, Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Herrmann on October 16, 2023. Her patients absolutely adored her and her colleagues admired and respected her. Dr. Herrmann touched all of us in so many ways, and she considered all her patients and colleagues to be friends. Whoever was in the room with her felt like they were the most important person to set foot in the room. Her wisdom, grace, and generosity were unparalleled. To say she will be missed is an understatement.

Dr. Herrmann was born in Ohio on Oct 19, 1949. She graduated with her medical degree in 1974 from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where she also completed her surgical residency training. After a year of research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, she was recruited to Saint Louis University as Assistant Professor in 1980, and became Professor of Surgery in 1998. She held many leadership positions at Saint Louis University – serving as the Director of Nutritional Support Service, Director of Home Health Care Department, Co-Director of Breast Cancer of Saint Louis University, and Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery. She joined the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in the Division of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery in 1998 as the Co-Director of the Breast Surgery Program. In 2005, she moved to Savannah GA as Professor of Surgery at Mercer University School of Medicine. She was appointed Director of the Breast Health Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2007. She served in that role until 2014 when she returned to Washington University School of Medicine. During her recent years, Dr. Herrmann has focused on the medical care and genetic counseling of patients with high-risk breast cancer syndromes and with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ).

Dr. Herrmann had a distinguished career, with many invited lectures, awards, and publications. Her honors and awards include the YWCA Leadership Award, Physician Recognition Award, Commendation for Excellence in Teaching, Pastoral Care Award, Women of the Year Award, Gender Equity Award, Elizabeth Blackwell Lecturer, American Cancer Society Spirit of Health Award for Breast Cancer Treatment and Surgery, Washington University Evarts A. Graham Resident Teaching Award, and several Excellence in Teaching Awards. She served on the Editorial Boards for Annals of Surgical Oncology and Journal of American College of Surgeons and on several Advisory Boards.

Dr. John DiPersio, the Virginia E. and Samuel J. Goldman Professor of Medicine and former Chief of the Division of Oncology, praised her contributions to the care of patients with cancer. “Dr. Herrmann cared for the medically managed patients with the same extraordinary dedication, skill, and commitment that she did during the many years where she practiced breast cancer surgery. She was a rare talent and a true gem of a person loved by her patients and her colleagues.”  Dr. Timothy J. Eberlein, the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor, Director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, and former Chair of the Department of Surgery commented, “Ginny transformed our Breast Surgery program. She was the consummate “go to” doctor, who was loved by her patients, but was a superb mentor and role model to other physicians and trainees. Her tireless dedication to patient care was responsible for the dramatic increase of breast cancer patients cared for at Wash U/Siteman. She will be missed by all who knew her and worked with her.”

Visitation will be held Friday, October 20 from 4:00–8:00 pm at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary and Saturday, October 21 from 8:30–9:00 am at St. Ambrose Catholic Church on the Hill. Funeral Mass following visitation at 9:00 am at St. Ambrose. Private interment.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Ambrose Society for the Homeless, online here or by mail: St. Ambrose, 5130 Wilson Ave.; St. Louis, MO 63110 (in the memo of the check make a notation-“St. Ambrose Society”) or to Cardinal Glennon Palliative Care Fund (Footprints) online here or by mail: Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation, 3800 Park Ave.; St. Louis, MO 63110 (in the memo of the check make a notation- “Palliative care, Footprints”).

Please keep Dr. Herrmann’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this sad time.