In Remembrance of John F. Steege, MD

One of AAGL’s esteemed and beloved members, John F. Steege, MD, passed away on January 30, 2023, at the age of 76. A mentor and friend to many, he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Rosilene; children Sarah, Adam, and Noah Steege; daughters-in-law Susannah Zietz and Stephanie Steege; and grandchildren Ezra and Amelia Steege. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and colleagues over this tremendous loss.

Dr. Steege was a pioneer in minimally invasive surgery and a leading authority in the evaluation and management of chronic pelvic pain. He was one of the first to use laparoscopy in treating pelvic pain and performing hysterectomies, and he continued to focus on the care and treatment of chronic pelvic pain throughout his career. As a founding member and Past President of the International Pelvic Pain Society, he co-authored and edited one of our field’s seminal works, “Chronic Pelvic Pain: An Integrated Approach.”

Dr. Steege served as the Division Director of Advanced Laparoscopy and Pelvic Pain (now MIGS) at the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill (UNC) from 1992 until his retirement as an Emeritus Professor in 2014. His passion for sharing knowledge, encouraging academic inquiry, and honing new surgical skills ultimately led him to establish one of the earliest minimally invasive gynecologic surgery fellowships in 1998. Dr. Steege’s fellowship program at UNC spawned numerous graduates, half of whom now lead their own MIGS programs. For those who trained with him, he was known as a quiet doer and exuberant mentor whose impact was far-reaching. In recognition of his tutelage, in 2015, the Foundation of the AAGL established the John F. Steege Mentorship Award to recognize outstanding individuals who epitomize Dr. Steege’s spirit of mentorship. In addition to his technical abilities as a surgeon, Dr. Steege was a consummate academician who cared for his patients with compassion and humility and always took time out of his day for a didactic session with a curious student. His lifelong focus on caring for others was an inspiration to his students and his family.

Dr. Steege was known to start his surgical schedule early in the morning so that he could be home in time for family dinner. He taught his three children to ride bicycles, grill a Thanksgiving turkey, appreciate rhubarb pie, and ask incisive questions about the world. He enjoyed exploring national parks around the country and taught his children a love for the natural world.

In retirement, his intellectual curiosity led him to spend hours in his woodshop, learning new techniques to create beautiful furniture for friends and family. He enjoyed reading nonfiction, learning the nuances in major historical events, leading a book group, spending time with friends, attending lectures and film festivals at area universities and tuning in to Judea Reform Congregation’s music class.

In celebration of his life, a memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2:00 pm, at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, NC. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Foundation of the AAGL in support of the John F. Steege Mentorship Award. Dr. Steege was a valued member of the AAGL whose work and mentorship have forever impacted the future of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. He will be missed.


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