Dr. Richard Heimburger, 82, passed away Monday, November 19, 2018 in Columbia. Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 1, at St. Thomas More Newman Center from 9:00-11: 00a.m. The funeral mass will follow at 11:00 a.m.
He was born on January 17, 1936 in St. Louis to the late Dr. LeRoy F. Heimburger and Margaret Coleman Smith. He was married at the Newman Center on June 11, 1983 to Mary Catherine Immegart and she survives.Dr. Heimburger grew up in Springfield and attended the former Central High School graduating in 1954. He graduated from Drury College in 1957, majoring in chemistry and biology and lettering in tennis. Dr. Heimburger then followed his brothers to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine graduating in 1961. He then completed a one-year surgical internship at the University of Oklahoma. After completing a two-year surgical residency at the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Heimburger enlisted in the Air Force to serve in Viet- nam. He was fortunate enough to be the only non-volunteer on the first USAID/USAF Volunteer Surgical Team to treat the Vietnamese Civilian people in Cantho, South Vietnam in the Mekong Delta. This turned out to be an intensive course in the mass casualties of war with patients arriving at the hospital by ox cart, rickshaws, trucks, and taxicabs. It was here that he decided to specialize in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He received the Bronze Star for his work in Vietnam. After two years in Vietnam, Dr. Heimburger returned to the Medical College of Georgia to complete his general surgery residency and kidney transplant service. From 1969-1972 he completed his residency in Plastic and Maxillofacial surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Burn Institute in Galveston. He completed a research fellowship with the American Cancer Society on the transplantation of pedicle flaps. From 1973-1977 Dr. Heimburger served as Associate Professor and Chief of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Section at the University of Missouri, developing the first modern burn care unit.
In 1978, he entered private practice opening offices in Columbia, Jefferson City and eventually in Osage Beach. In addition to plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Heimburger was well-known in Central Missouri as a hand surgeon. Aesthetic Skin Care Services, a division of the practice, was the first medical spa practice in Columbia. He and his wife worked together for 22 years to match their practice style to the needs of patients. Patient care was always a rewarding experience.Dr. Heimburger had a lifelong passion for service abroad and found teaching surgeons plastic surgery procedures and burn care immensely rewarding. On numerous occasions he worked in the Dominican Republic, Chonju, Korea, Lima, Peru as well as Jinan, China. With a Rotary International Foundation grant, he established a children’s burn care unit at the Christian Medical College Hospital in Vellore, India.
In 1982 he was named the Physician of the Year by Gov. Christopher Bond for his work on the Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. In 1988, Dr. Heimburger became the founding president of the Missouri Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. To ease into retirement, Dr. Heimburger served as clinical professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine from 2004 to 2005. In retirement he traveled less, but found more time for church, family, friends, and writing. He enjoyed tennis, biking and his morning jog. During the last few years, he devoted his efforts to his peace project activities in the hope of making others aware of the grave need to work toward peace and harmony in the world.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children: Margaret Block (Jared) and daughter Isabel of Charlotte; Richard Jr. (Kristen) and daughter Hadley of Atlanta; and Katie Ingram (Peter) and daughters Morgan and Emma of Atlanta. He is also survived by his brother Dr. Irvin L. Heimburger of Evansville, and numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Heimburger was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Dr. Robert F. Heimburger, Douglas, Louise, and Frances Grace. The family would like to thank Drs. Joe Muscato, Andrew Iliff and Robin, as well as Boone Hospital Center Hospice for their care and compassion during his illness.
Memorials may be made to the Rotary International Foundation, or the American Cancer Society, or to the donor’s choice. Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory; 12 East Ash Street, Columbia, Missouri, 65203; (573) 449-4153. Condolences may be left online for the family at www.ParkerMillard.com.