Please note the Scholarship Fund in John’s Name at the
George Washington University School of Medicine.
John Frederick Mermel, 79, of McLean,
Virginia, died in San Diego, California, on
Monday, March 3, 2014, of causes related
to acute myeloid leukemia.
He was born to the late Thaddeus
Walter and Lillian Summers Mermel on
February 18, 1935, in Denver, Colorado. He
was graduated from St. John's College
High School in 1952 and received a B.A.
from Georgetown University in 1956. He
received an M.D. from the George
Washington University School of Medicine
He was a member of the medical
honorary society, Alpha Omega Alpha. He
married the late Dr. Virginia Maribee Myers
of Francesville, Indiana in 1961.
Dr. Mermel served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy aboard a minesweeping
fleet from 1961 to 1963. He was stationed in Sasebo, Japan where he lived
with his wife and where his first child was born. He returned to the U.S. where
his second child was born in 1964. Upon his return, he began the practice of
internal medicine with a specialty in cardiology in partnership with the late Dr.
Michael Shefferman in their office located on "K" Street in Washington through
He was dedicated to education and throughout his years of private practice
remained closely affiliated with the George Washington University School of
Medicine as an Associate Clinical Professor. In 1985, Dr. Mermel accepted the
post of Regional Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of State in
Islamabad, Pakistan. He lived in Pakistan with his wife for two years and
together they began a series of similar posts to other U.S. Embassies in Cairo,
New Delhi, and Warsaw.
While abroad Dr. Mermel represented his country capably in regions often
bereft of western medical expertise. Dr. Mermel was the first doctor to board
Pan Am Flight 73 at the conclusion of its hijacking in Karachi, Pakistan and
directed triage operations after the terrorist attack that left 22 dead and 150
injured. Dr. Mermel also participated in the medical relief efforts at the U.S.
Embassies following the bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania in 1998 as well as with caring for Americans left in Baghdad and
Kuwait after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990. Dr. Mermel was regularly
dropped into Beirut, Lebanon and other hostile zones in order to tend to
Americans in need of medical attention.
Dr. Mermel and his wife returned to McLean, Virginia in 1997, whereupon he
served as the Clinical Director and then Deputy Medical Director in the Office
of Medical Services, U.S. Department of State. He attained the rank of
Minister Counselor and retired in 2000.
Dr. Mermel always lived his life to the fullest. He loved his family, the practice
of medicine, traveling, fly-fishing, the investment markets, teaching and
learning. He touched many lives and made them all better with his humor and
endless kindness and empathy. He will be dearly missed.
Dr. Mermel is survived by his two children, M. Myers Mermel of New York
City and Dr. Cecilia MacCallum of Lynchburg, Virginia. He is also survived by
two sisters, Yvonne Rodler and Marilyn Disbrow; and five grandchildren,
Grace, Matthew, Lillian, John, and Elizabeth.
His wife Virginia preceded him in death in 2010.
In memory of his strong commitment to the practice of medicine and his
dedication to formal education as the best means for self-advancement, Dr.
Mermel's family has established a scholarship fund for medical education.
Those friends of his who wish to perpetuate his memory, may in lieu of
flowers, forward contributions to this fund at the School of Medicine at George
Washington University designated for the "Dr. John F. Mermel Memorial
Fund" addressed to: Attn: M.T. Pena, School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
George Washington University, 2030 M Street NW, Suite 4054, Washington,
A service of memorial will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 10 a.m. at
the Walker Chapel United Methodist Church, 4102 N. Glebe Road, Arlington,
Interment will be at the Oakwood Cemetery in Arlington.