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Obituary: Virginia Herrmann, MD, breast cancer specialist, 73

Former co-director of breast surgery program was known for dedication, kindness in patient care

October 22, 2023

Virginia Herrmann, MD, a distinguished breast cancer specialist and past co-director of the breast surgery program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, at her home in St. Louis following a two-year battle with cancer. She was 73.

“Dr. Herrmann had a distinguished career, with many leadership positions and honors for her extraordinary contributions to the field of breast cancer surgery and her dedication to patient care,” said Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor and head of the Department of Medicine. “She was beloved by her patients and admired and respected by her colleagues. Her wisdom, grace and generosity were unparalleled. To say she will be missed is an understatement.”

Herrmann earned her medical degree in 1974 from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where she also completed her surgical residency training. She then completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School and returned to St. Louis to join the faculty of Saint Louis University in 1980.

Herrmann’s many leadership positions at Saint Louis University included serving as director of the nutrition support service, director of Home Health Services, co-director of Breast Cancer at Saint Louis University, and vice-chair of the Department of Surgery. In 1998, she joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery in the Section of Surgical Oncology, where she co-directed the Breast Surgery Program. In recent years, Herrmann focused on medical care and genetic counseling for patients with high-risk breast cancer syndromes and a type of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ.

Visitation was held Friday, Oct. 20, at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary, 6464 Chippewa St., St. Louis, and Saturday morning, Oct. 21, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 5130 Wilson Ave., St. Louis. A funeral Mass followed at St. Ambrose, and then private interment.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Ambrose Society, for the homeless, or to the Cardinal Glennon Children Hospital’s Palliative Care Fund.

See here for more information about her life.