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Pathologist Wittmann Dies at 80

Aenne-Louise Wittmann, an assistant professor who joined the pathology department of the LAC + USC Medical Center in 1968, died in her sleep of natural causes Feb. 12. She was 80.

Wittmann retired in 1995 and was granted emeritus status in 1996.

“I met Dr. Wittmann when we were both assigned to the autopsy service at the Los Angeles County General Hospital. She taught pathology to medical students and residents, effectively and enthusiastically,” said Nancy E. Warner, Emerita Professor in the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Born in Germany, Wittmann began studying medicine at the age of 17 at the University of Heidelberg. During the last year of World War II, her university was closed, but she continued studying and reading even while in an air raid shelter during bombing raids.

After completing her university studies, she studied at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. She completed a residency in dermatology and then took a position in Oldenburg, Germany. Within a year, she moved to California’s Castro Valley to join an aunt who had moved there before the war.

One of her first jobs in the United States was as a laboratory technician at a hospital in Oakland, Calif., and while there she studied for her American Medical Board Exams. She then accepted a position in Arizona, where she married and then became a U.S. citizen in 1964 shortly before the birth of a son.

In 1966, Wittmann began a residency with the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Hospital and two years later joined USC’s department of pathology as an instructor. In 1978, she was promoted to assistant professor. During that time she wrote a paper on tongues that was published in The Lancet, among other journals.

Her son, Rudolph “Rudi” Jack Wittmann, said that when he was young, he would tell his schoolmates that his mother, who was by then a single working woman, was a doctor, and his teachers would correct him, saying that she surely must be a nurse, since women physicians were not as prevalent in those days � and his mother would send him back the next day to set the record straight.

Throughout her tenure at USC, Wittmann participated in numerous conferences, including grand rounds, and she instructed many university students. She also maintained her interest in dermatology, frequently examining skin slides for other physicians.

After retirement, Wittmann kept up on her certifications and traveled.

She is survived by her son.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. at St. Victor’s Catholic Church, 8634 Holloway Drive, West Hollywood.

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