We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Verle Headings, chair, Department of Genetics and Human Genetics and former Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Headings was a committed faculty member and mentor to students, faculty, and colleagues for many years. A memorial service will be held at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 5, at 2:00 p.m. Expressions of condolence may be sent to:
Dr. Verle Headings
178 Tupelo Lane
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Memorial services at Howard University are being planned. For more information on these services, please contact
Kareem Washington, Ph.D.,
Memories - People experience life through anticipation, participation and recollection.
In this time of mourning, rejoice, and praise of Verle E. Headings, M.D., Ph.D., long-time chair of the genetics department and medical director of the genetic counseling program, I am writing to share the seashore of memories, accolades, and sentiments that have reverberated through Howard University to honor the contributions this man made to the lives of those who were fortunate to know him. Dr. Headings, called by one of his students "the noble soul of the Genetics Department", was one of the most sincere, gentle, and caring individuals that many of us have ever met. He passed on April 27, 2012.
Dr. Headings dedicated himself to Howard for more than 40 years in service as Chair and Director of Graduate studies, Director of Medical Genetics, Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics, Director of M.D./Ph.D. program, Professor, Clinical Geneticist, Colleague, Mentor, Advisor and above all, Friend. A testament to his devotion is these special words of sentiment delivered to the Howard family by his loving wife, "His work at Howard was a hugely important and satisfying part of his life."
The magnitude of Dr. Verle Headings' contribution and impact on the Howard University Graduate School's Genetics program is unmistaken, including his scholarly and academic leadership since he was appointed Director of Graduate Studies in Genetics and Human Genetics in 1973. He spoke volumes with his gentle voice and smooth demeanor; an erudite scholar of Genetics, he contributed greater than 100 publications in the literature spanning from 1959 – 2011, covering a wide range of topics from applied human genetics to hemoglobinopathies to the philosophy of medicine and bioethics. Dr. Verle Headings tirelessly provided clinical genetic services to the underserved. He unconditionally mentored no fewer than 100 doctoral, master's, medical, and counseling students, and he was a guiding light to many of his colleagues and the community.
The faculty and staff of the Howard University College of Medicine and Hospital will remember the man that "never wanted to take the spotlight," was soft-spoken, genuine, and gentle in his approach to all that he met. Dr. Headings served his colleagues with respect and honor as faculty within the College of Medicine. He consistently offered his medical expertise to his colleagues and to the families he served. He was the spirit of the Genetics and Human Genetics Department at Howard University, and his legacy will live on for many years to come.
Department of Genetics and Human Genetics