Keiller / Kowierschke

Violet H. Keiller, MD (1930)

Dr. Violet Hannah Keiller was born on October 27, 1887 in Edinburgh, Scotland to Dr. William Keiller and Eliza Henrietta McLaughlin Keiller. She had two sisters, Mabel and Margaret, and one brother, Thomas. Dr. Keiller came to the United States with her parents in 1891 when her father became the first professor of anatomy at The University of Texas Medical Branch.

Dr. Keiller died of a heart attack on September 24, 1958.

Medical Education & Practice

Dr. Keiller received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia in 1910 and received her MD degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1914. She was one of only three women in her graduating class. Dr. Keiller did not do an internship, but immediately started assisting Dr. James E. Thompson, who was professor of surgery at UTMB. She taught histology and eventually became a professor of surgical pathology.

In 1927, Dr. Keiller moved to Houston to practice pathology at Hermann Hospital where she specialized in cancer diagnosis. She continued teaching at UTMB, returning to Galveston two days out of the week to teach classes. She eventually became chief pathologist at Hermann Hospital, and remained there until her retirement in 1953.

When Baylor University College of Medicine moved to Houston in 1943, Dr. Keiller accepted a professorship there and became emeritus professor of pathology after her retirement. Dr. Keiller continued consulting until near the end of her life when her health limited her activities. Known as the “dean” of Houston pathologists, Dr. Keiller had consulted for Hermann Hospital, M.D. Anderson Hospital, and the Tumor Institute. In honor of her tenure and outstanding work, after her retirement the Violet H. Keiller Award was established at Hermann Hospital by former interns and residents as an award to honor one outstanding student each year.

Among her work with professional organizations, Dr. Keiller was a member of the Harris County Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the American Society of Clinical Pathology. She was a diplomat of the American Board of Pathology and was a long-time member of the Texas Medical Association. She has the distinction of being the only female member of the Texas Surgical Society during its first fifty years.
In 1982, twenty-four years after she had died, the new surgical pathology laboratory at Hermann Hospital was named in Dr. Keiller’s honor and has on display the tiny black microscope that she used.

Texas Society of Pathologists

Dr. Keiller was one of the first female members of the TSP. She served as its first female president in 1930. Her presidency was during a time when there were many technological advances in medicine, including in the area of tumor diagnosis.

Notable Publication(s)

An April, 1916 issue of the Texas Medical Journal devoted its issue to “a demonstration of what women are doing in the practice of medicine in Texas.” Dr. Keiller was one of the contributors.
Keiller, V. H. (1922). A contribution to the anatomy of spina bifida. Brain, 45(1), 31-103.
(Cited by 40)
Tennent, D. H., & Keiller, V. H. (1911). The anatomy of Pentaceros reticulatus.

Sidney W. Kowierschke, MD (1974)

Dr. Sidney “Sid” Wayne Kowierschke was born on April 4, 1931 in Mason, Texas to Martin and Eoline Kowierschke. He had two sisters, Iva and Marlene. Dr. Kowierschke married Katye Harper, and they had four daughters, Linda, Sandra, Elaine, and Karen.

Dr. Kowierschke died on May 5, 1985 in Huntsville, Texas at the age of 54 due to complications from cancer.

Medical Education & Practice

Dr. Kowierschke earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, Texas in 1951. He went to medical school at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and obtained his MD degree in 1957. He completed an internship and two years of residency at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas under the leadership of Dr. John L. Goforth. He then completed two years of residency in pathology at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas under Dr. George Race. He became board certified in anatomical and clinical pathology in 1962 and 1963.

In 1963 after completing a tour of duty as a naval commander in Corpus Christi, Dr. Kowierschke moved to Bryan, Texas to open a pathology laboratory. He also served as a pathologist in El Paso and Huntsville, but eventually returned to Bryan in 1977. In 1981 he joined Huntsville Pathology Associates.

Dr. Kowierschke was a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology and the College of American Pathologists.

Texas Society of Pathologists

Dr. Kowierschke became a member of the TSP in 1964 and served as its president in 1974. He was president of the TSP during a time when several federal laws were passed that had direct implications for the field of pathology. It was also during this time that the TSP decided to discontinue tis quality control programs since the ASCP and the CAP had established national programs.

Notable Publication(s)

Harrison, R. H., Baird, J. M., & Kowierschke, S. W. (1981). Renal oncocytoma: ten-year follow-up. Urology, 17(6), 596-599.
Walton Jr, T. T., Elmendorf, E. A., & Kowierschke, S. W. (1965). Tuberculous enterocolitis. Texas medicine, 61(11), 830-832.