BOURONCLE--Dr. Bertha (Pereny). Passed away surrounded by friends and family last Friday August 16th after receiving the last rites. Bertha was born in Peru in 1919. Her parents were the Harvard-educated Dr. Luis H. Bouroncle and Carmela Bouroncle Gonzalez-Quint. She was the fourth of five children, Luis, Consuelo, Maruja and Antonio. She is survived by Consuelo. Bertha spent most of her life and career as a Professor of Medicine at The Ohio State University (OSU). Before moving to Columbus, she graduated at the top of her class from the San Marcos Medical School in Peru. Bertha became a world-renowned medical researcher, a beloved teacher to thousands of medical students, having been named Professor of the Year multiple times and the first woman chief resident and the first female full professor of Medicine in Ohio. Her biggest accomplishment as a researcher was the identification of a formerly fatal type of leukemia, now mostly treatable thanks to her lifetime efforts and the efforts of her disciples that are continuing her dream of finding a cure to all cancers. Dr. Bouroncle was instrumental in the creation of The Ohio State University, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, affectionately known as "The James." Today thousands and possibly tens of thousands of cancer survivors are able to share their lives with their beloved ones thanks to the discoveries from the research led by Dr. Bouroncle. In addition to her research, she also was the ultimate patient advocate and a consummate teacher. Upon her retirement in 1989, OSU created the so-called "Bertha Bouroncle Day" to honor bright students and young researchers in medicine. Dr. Bouroncle has given back to the community in her lifetime by creating the Bertha Bouroncle and Andrew Pereny Chair of Medicine to fund in perpetuity an endowed professorship in Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Bertha was a supporter of the Columbus Symphony, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and also loved the ballet and the arts. Bertha was preceded in death by her husband, the industrialist Andrew Pereny. Andrew passed away in 1983. Bertha is the most beloved icon of the entire Bouroncle family and an icon at OSU, as her entire family as well as countless colleagues and patients at the Ohio State University can attest. Bertha is survived by 11 nieces and nephews, 27 grand-nieces and nephews and 16 great grand-nieces and nephews, and by Burke Showe and his children and grandchildren, her "Columbus family." Those wishing to honor Bertha's memory can send funds to the Bertha Bouroncle Fund at The Ohio State University, 660 Ackerman Road Room 651, PO Box 183112, Columbus, Ohio 43218 to the attention: Steve Chaykowski, Stephen.Chaykowski@osumc.edu or call 614-293-3745. To share memories or condolences, visit shoedinger.com.
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Published in The New York Times on Aug. 25, 2013