Hathaway-Myers Chapel

1022 Pearl Street, Columbus, IN


Herman J. Echsner Jr., M.D.

September 1, 1925October 11, 2019

Herman J. Echsner, Jr., M.D., 94, passed away peacefully on October 11, 2019, surrounded by family at the Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Columbus, Indiana. He was born on September 1, 1925, in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1943. At the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in the 15th Air Corps, 456 Bomb Group. Between December 15, 1944, and April 25, 1945, he flew 25 missions as a tail gunner in a B-24J Bomber over Austria, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany. He was a member of the Greatest Generation. Upon returning from the war, he attended Xavier University and graduated from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in 1952. He married Virginia Blair Lechleiter in 1949. Dr. Echsner had a distinguished career as a physician in Columbus, Indiana. In 1953, he established a family practice and then in the early 1960s earned a degree in anesthesiology from the University of Vienna. He divided his practice between family medicine, anesthesia, and emergency medicine and practiced in one or more of those areas for over fifty years. He retired from medicine in 2003 at the age of 77. He was director of the Bartholomew County Hospital Emergency Department for 20 years. Dr. Echsner was elected Chief of the Medical Staff at Bartholomew County Hospital in 1963. In 1965, he built the first full service nursing home in Columbus, the Columbus Convalescent Center, still operational today, and was its medical director for over 35 years. Throughout his life, his patients could rely on him for his knowledge, judgment, sense of humor, and kindness. He made contributions to the world beyond his patients by living a life of integrity and dignity. In 2015, he received an Alumni Community Service Award from Saint Louis University. He was a devoted Catholic and was a member of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church. He was preceded in death by his children, Karen Echsner Kemp and Chris Gregory Echsner, parents Herman J. Echsner, Sr. and Bertha Herre Echsner, his brothers, Richard, Quentin, and Norbert (Doc) and his sisters Dorothy Curran, Thelma Sykes Sherman, and Patricia Beisler. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Virginia Blair Lechleiter Echsner, and four children: Mary Echsner Moore, Stephen (Rebecca) Echsner, Julie Echsner Gahimer and Amy Echsner Shaper; and 11 grandchildren, Bree, Sam, Amy, Alex, Herre, Brendon, Erin, Lauren, Alexandra, Tori and Hannah; great grandchildren; and sister, Joan Marie Echsner. The Echsner family extends the utmost gratitude to the medical, nursing and professional staff at the Four Seasons Retirement Community and from Our Hospice. The family will receive visitors at 10:00 am preceding an 11:00 am Memorial Mass to be celebrated at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church on October 26, 2019 with Fr. Clem Davis presiding. Military rites will be presented by the Bartholomew County Veteran’s Honor Guard at the church following the Mass. There will be no graveside service. Dr. Echsner will be cremated according to his wishes. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in memory and honor of Dr. Echsner to St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, 200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, Indiana 47577. Hathaway~ Myers Funeral Service is handling the arrangements.


  • Virginia B. Echsner, Wife
  • Mary Echsner Moore, Daughter
  • Stephen (Rebecca) Echsner, Son
  • Julie Echsner Gahimer, Daughter
  • Amy Echsner Shaper, Daughter
  • Joan Marie Echsner, Sister
  • 11 grandchildren, Bree, Sam, Amy, Alex, Herre, Brendon, Erin, Lauren, Alexandra, Tori and Hannah.

  • St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology


  • Visitation Saturday, October 26, 2019
  • Memorial Mass Saturday, October 26, 2019


Herman J. Echsner Jr., M.D.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ted McVey

October 24, 2019

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Echsner family. I have many memories of Dr. E and his family. I always felt like he was my personal physician through my high school years. It was a well known fact, to his sports fans, that he was "the" coach of the 1941 Olympics. At home or at the office Dr. E shared a wonderful, healing sense of humor with those that knew him.
I believe that Dr. E knew that making someone comfortable through a laugh or a smile was as good a medicine as any and longer lasting. Dr. E is all smiles with the Great Physician.
Love Always

Tod McVey

October 24, 2019

My love and heart go out to the entire Hermsn J. Echsner Jr, family for the loss of their father and a great man and physician. Dr. E as I fondly refer to him was a man of great character, love and compassion. although I was but a blip on the radar screen of the Echsner family life, the memories of Dr. E are life lasting for me. From taking me out on the boat and helping me learn to slalom ski, where I was reminded that he had been the coach of the 1941 Olympics (wink). Also as my physician through CNHS Gymnastics and college years, he always heard the symptoms made things better, wether a shot for an on coming cold or care for back pain. Once I remember seeing him in the ER caring for a young boy whose foot had been cut deep by a lawn mower. He was amazing. My tears are both sad and happy as I can still hear him say "Hello Sports Fan" with a firm handshake...and followed by a comment. He could and will always make me smile. May God's peace be with you all. And Dr. E, shake His hand as I know He is already smiling and saying well done and welcome home.

Barbara Rust Brown

October 23, 2019

What a lovely Catholic family..I remember all of them and their pretty home. Many memories from my childhood...all the best and much love to the entire family. I don’t doubt that your father is enjoying the company of our Heavenly Father!♥️ From the Rust family ♥️

Patricia Voelz-Sandlin

October 23, 2019

Echsner Family...Doc was one of a kind!...He and Doctor Dugan were the only Doctors I trusted with my son and daughter...may you all be comforted knowing Doc's journey is complete and he is resting in the arms of our Saviour....Sandlin family

Susan Bohn

October 23, 2019

Oh what a wonderful man, doctor, father, husband and a great friend to so many folks in Columbus. He certainly made a positive impact to the community.
My condolences to his precious family.

Hope Swisher (Carvin)

October 23, 2019

I am so sorry to hear about Dr. Eschners passing. He was a wonderful Doctor and I have many memories. I use to work at Columbus Health Lab in the same building as his practice. When I was pregnant with my only child Dr. Eschner saw me walking down the hall one day and told me I was going to have a boy. He said he could tell from how I was carrying the baby and he ended up being correct.
He also showed me my file from being a patient one day. I was born on October the 13th and went to be with my new adopted family on October 18th. On October 19, Dr. Eschner was the first Doctor to ever check me over to make sure I was healthy.
In 2015 I purchased 1950 Doctors Park Dr. It is the building he had his practice for many years. On a door in the basement there it still has a sign the says Dr. Echsner Office.
He was a great man and his life touched so many. What a blessing!!!
My prayers to all the family for the loss.

Kathy Black-Couturier

October 22, 2019

I was named after Dr. Escher , my middle name is Jo. He tried to get my mom to name me Hermione!! I never met him but talked to him in the phone once. Since I carried his name I always felt a bond with him. I am so sorry for your loss.

penny waddell

October 18, 2019

My condolences to the family of Dr Echsner,

He was my doctor many years ago at times...
Penny Waddell

Karin Sharp

October 18, 2019

I just wanted to say I how I absolutely LOVE this picture of my beloved Dr. Herman J. ! Gods blessings to the whole family. It was such an honor to have helped care for him

Roberta Thompson

October 17, 2019

So sorry for the loss of your father and loved one. We are never ready to lose those we love and cherish. Keep your good memories close to your hearts at this difficult time.

Roberta Thompson
University of Indianapolis