December 19, 2003

Dr. Virgil LeQuire dies at 82

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Dr. Virgil S. LeQuire

Dr. Virgil LeQuire dies at 82

Dr. Virgil S. LeQuire, a 1946 graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a Vanderbilt faculty member for more than 50 years died on Dec. 13. He was 82.

LeQuire, professor of Cell Biology and Pathology, spent only three-and-a-half years away from Vanderbilt after receiving his medical degree — 15 months in an internship at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. and two years at the United States Naval Medical Research Institute at Bethesda, Md. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1949 as a fellow in Neurophysiology, was appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy in 1950, was promoted to associate professor in 1959, and in 1966 became professor of both Anatomy and Pathology. He served as acting chairman of the department of Pathology from 1971 to 1973 and vice-chairman of Pathology from 1973 to 1976.

He had a strong research interest in lipids and lipoproteins and was one of the first to describe the lipemia clearing effect of heparin. He directed the Department of Pathology Graduate Education program from 1973 to 1985, serving as adviser for 12 students working toward their Ph.D. in Anatomy and Pathology, students who have emerged as academicians and internationally-recognized scientists in the area of lipoprotein metabolism. LeQuire was chair of the admissions committee for VUSM for more than a decade.

Dr. Mildred T. Stahlman, professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, was a member of LeQuire’s medical school class and a longtime friend of LeQuire’s. “Virgil and his family have been my second family for more than 60 years,” Stahlman said. “He was an unusually bright, imaginative, creative person and a wonderful research mentor who became very involved with his graduate students. They identified with him and have done very well in their own careers.”

Stahlman, who often traveled with LeQuire and his wife, said when LeQuire became the chairman of the medical school admissions committee he got to know the medical students well, entertained them at his home, and went to their weddings. “Graduates would come back to Vanderbilt, and would come to see him and would often stay at his home. He took great pleasure in working with young people, and he was very good at it. He was a marvelous mentor.”

LeQuire, a 1943 graduate of Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., received a distinguished alumnus citation from his alma mater in 1985 and the Thomas Jefferson Award for Distinguished Service to Vanderbilt University in 1975. He is survived by his wife, Louise, and four children, Nancy, Paul, Alan and Lista.