Dr. Joseph Song

May 11, 1927August 1, 2012

Dr. Joseph Song of Des Moines, IA passed away on August 1, 2012. He was 85 years old. Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 18 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Dr. Song’s remains will be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Song was born in Pyong Yang, Korea, on May 11, 1927 as the only son of Ha-Chu Song and Wha-Soon Koh. In March, 1946, he walked through the night to cross the 38th Parallel into Seoul, South Korea, where he eventually graduated from Seoul University College of Medicine.

During the Korean War he served as a medical doctor in the R.O.K. Army. In 1952, Joseph came to America to continue his medical training at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, and became a board-certified pathologist. He later received a federal grant to study women’s reproductive health in Providence, RI. While living in RI, he also taught at Tufts Medical School. In 1960, he was appointed as Associate Professor in Pathology Department at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine.

In 1965, Joseph moved with his family to Des Moines, IA, to work at Mercy Hospital where he was the Director of Pathology Department for 28 year, and Chief of Staff in 1981. During this time, he was also an instructor at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.

He spent a majority of his professional life focused on cancer research. Dr. Song published two medical text books – The Human Uterus and Pathology of Sickle Cell Anemia, for which he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution in Research of Sickle Cell Anemia in 1972. Dr. Song also published numerous journal articles, an autobiography, two novels, and a biography of his mother. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dr. Kumsan Song, his daughter Patricia H. Song, his son Jeffrey J. Song, and four grandchildren (Julia, Ben, Jacob, and Milo). His son Michael J. Song passed away in 2007.

In lieu of flowers memorial contribution will be given to the Mercy Foundation.


  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 18, 2012


Dr. Joseph Song

have a memory or condolence to add?


August 11, 2012

Our deepest condolence to the family. He was a great mentor for all of us. Joseph and Lucia Hwang

Priti Lacy

August 9, 2012

Kumsan and Family,
I am so very sorry at your loss and pray that memories of a life well lived and faith sustain you at this time. May his soul rest in peace.

Janet Kramme

August 8, 2012

I worked for Dr. Song from 1965 until he retired, as his chief cytotechnologist, and helped him with his research project on Circulating Cancer Cells. He was a great cytopathologist and will be missed by many.

Lisa Essex

August 8, 2012

To the family of Dr. Song: My heart goes out to your loss and may memories bring you peace. I feel so honored to have worked in the lab with Dr. Song at Mercy; as he was a very kind and patient pathologist.

Roxanna DeMoss

August 8, 2012

I worked for Dr. Song at Mercy Hospital in the late 60's as his medical secretary. I have fond memories of him and recently had contacted him to thank him for his contribution to my administrative career. I am saddened at his passing. Mrs. Song and children - he was a wonderful man and I know you will all miss him.

August 7, 2012

I knew him professionally at Mercy Hospital. He was a Giant among his peers. He was always happy and spoke to all -regardless of position at Mercy.