07.27.20

Dr. Roger Herzig, Dedicated BMT Physician, Dies at 74

Dr. Roger Herzig, a respected BMT physician and researcher, died on July 18, 2020. He was 74 years old.

Herzig had recently taken a job at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center—a program he established in the 1980s. An expert in developing new cancer centers, Herzig was known for his innovations related to the development of novel BMT protocols for new cancer indications.

During his career, he published 162 peer-reviewed articles, 44 book chapters, served in the Naval Medical Corps during Vietnam and worked at the National Cancer Institute, where he helped develop some of the first bone marrow transplant protocols to treat leukemia and lymphoma.

“Roger was exceptionally dedicated to his patients and saved the lives of thousands, a workaholic who always had to turn his headlights off when he arrived to work (even in the summertime), and an incredibly warm and genuine friend and colleague,” said Dr. Jason Chesney, director of the Brown Cancer Center. “I will miss him and know that many others will too.”

Herzig was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his older brother, Geoffrey, both attended Case Western Reserve University and became hematologists. Geoffrey died in 2014.

After serving in Vietnam, Roger Herzig returned to Cleveland, and was the founding director of the bone marrow transplant programs at the University Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic. He taught at the University of Louisville, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Kentucky where he cared for and mentored hundreds.

His family said his smile lit up a room, and ensured that all of his patients felt supported during difficult cancer treatments. “His gentle nature and kind heart always meant that his patients knew they had someone on their side,” they wrote in his obituary.

He is survived by his wife Donna, his four sons, three daughters-in-laws and nine grandchildren.

Due to COVID-19, the Herzig family opted to have a small private ceremony, however a 2021 memorial for friends, patients and colleagues will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, they’re asking for donations to the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Herzig Memorial Fund.

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