By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SOUTHGATE - Dr. Virginia Daugherty Kratz, one of the first two women public health officers in Kentucky, died Jan. 17 at St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas. The Southgate resident was 80.
A third-generation doctor, Dr. Kratz graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1947 - when female doctors were something of a novelty.
She was only 24 when she became a public health doctor for Owen and Grant counties, where she was known as the "lady doctor."
Five months after she took the job in 1947, a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote that "the new health officer has won the people of Owen and Grant counties to her way of thinking that young doctors, including women, are strictly all right."
The reporter also found it newsworthy that she didn't know how to cook.
Dr. Kratz provided immunizations, checkups, general medical care and nutrition counseling to patients in Grant and Owen, and eventually in Gallatin, Pendleton and Boone counties as well.
"She took it very seriously and enjoyed it thoroughly," said her son-in-law, Fred Stine of Fort Thomas. "Virginia was one of these strong-willed women. She liked to get things done (and) was very hard-working. Whenever she did anything, she'd really throw herself into it."
A native of Independence, Dr. Kratz was valedictorian of the Simon Kenton High School class of 1941.
She took a break from practicing medicine to raise a family during the 1960s. When she returned to work, she decided to switch gears and do a residency at Rollman Psychiatric Institute in Cincinnati. She was a psychiatrist at Rollman for seven years until illness forced her to retire about 15 years ago.
In addition to her son-in-law, survivors include a daughter, Katie Stine of Fort Thomas; a son, Robert Kevin Kratz of Cary, N.C.; and five grandchildren.
Services have been held. Burial was at Independence Cemetery.
Memorials: Fort Thomas Weekday Religious Education, c/o St. Andrew Episcopal Church, 3 Chalfonte Place, Fort Thomas, KY 41075 or the Salvation Army, 340 W. 10th St., Newport, KY 41071.
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