Staff and students have paid tribute to former QIMR Berghofer Council member and Queensland Senator Dr John Herron AO, who died on 25 February aged 86.
Dr Herron was a Senator in the Federal Parliament for 12 years – including five years as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs – and was Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See from 2003 to 2005.
Prior to entering Parliament, he was a general surgeon for 30 years. Outside his surgical and political careers, he was an officer in The Royal Australian Army Medical Corps and a Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Dr Herron served on the QIMR Berghofer Council from November 2014 to April 2015, before stepping down for health reasons.
He was the 2014 Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Orator for the Australian Drug Foundation and was awarded the Bancroft Medal by the Australian Medical Association’s Queensland branch. Dr Herron also received the Justin Fleming Medal from the Australian Association of Surgeons, a citation from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his work in Rwanda, and the Australian Service Medal. He was a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a Papal Knight of St Gregory.
QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon has expressed his condolences.
“We have been saddened by Dr Herron’s passing. He was an extremely distinguished man who excelled in both his surgical and political careers but will also be remembered for his generous service to his community,” Professor Gannon said.
“While his time at the Institute was brief, his medical background made him a true advocate for the importance of medical research.
“On behalf of the staff and students of QIMR Berghofer, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Dr Herron’s family and loved ones. Our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.”
A State Funeral for Dr Herron was held at Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral on Friday 1 March.