Virginia Peden, M.D., a former professor and vice chair of pediatrics, passed away on May 28 from Alzheimer's disease complications. She was 88.
Peden joined St. Louis University as an assistant professor of pediatrics in 1950 and was an original member of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center's medical staff. She also had the distinction of being the first woman to be promoted to full professor at Saint Louis University.
|Virginia Peden, M.D.|
"I knew Dr. Peden for 45 years, beginning when I was a junior medical student. She was one of the people who introduced me to pediatrics and a model for taking care of children and families. She was both smart and wise, straight forward and honest and totally lacking pretense," said Dennis O'Connor, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
"She was meticulous about patient care and expected that same dedication from her students. She would take all the time she needed to first explain what to do and then even more time to help us understand why. She taught us about each single patient, but, more importantly, prepared us for a career."
Peden specialized in caring for children with diabetes and growth problems. She pioneered strategies to provide nutrition for premature infants. She also authored numerous medical papers and abstracts on topics in pediatric endocrinology.
Mike Meyer, associate dean for finance at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and a long-time friend of Peden's, described her as someone who did not see limitations to her dreams.
"She was extremely bright and a hard worker. She never faulted the era she grew up in, but she would not allow the era to deter her from her goals. If she was told she couldn't do something, she did it just to prove naysayers wrong."
In addition to practicing medicine, Peden was a pilot, and enjoyed fencing, horseback riding and golf. But her children, and later grandchildren, were her top priority, Meyers said.
Visitation will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course Clubhouse in Forest Park. The address is 6141 Lagoon Drive.
Peden leaves behind a son, Douglas Peden; three daughters, Martha Bogart, Linda Fortune and Barbara Burgess; a brother, Frank Harrison; and six grandchildren.