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Jan 14 2017

Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Ralph Principe

By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection

Dr. Ralph Principe with Roper St. Francis nurse, Kelsey Low.

Dr. Ralph Principe with Roper St. Francis nurse, Kelsey Low.

Dr. Ralph Principe has been involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach since its inception and continues to help those in the local community. Growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Dr. Principe looked up to and respected the town’s family physician. This role model sparked his interest in medicine. Dr. Principe set an example as the first person in his family to go to college.


Education is very important. With education, you can do whatever you want,” says Dr. Principe. He graduated from St. Louis University’s School of Medicine in 1964. During his time in St. Louis, he met his wife, Tissy, and they’ve been married for 54 years. They have three children and four grandchildren.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Principe completed a rotating internship at a Navy hospital in San Diego, California, followed by Navy flight school for six months. He then served as a flight surgeon for two years.

In 1971, Dr. Principe completed a three-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology. The Navy sent Dr. Principe and his family to Charleston for a two-and-a-half-year commitment. After six months of living in Charleston, his wife stated that they were not leaving and have been living here ever since. In 1973, he got out of the Navy and soon joined a practice in Charleston.

In 1989, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach was established, and Dr. Principe was asked to serve on the Board of Directors. After his retirement in 2003, he volunteered to care for the OBGYN patients. He enjoys volunteering at the Wellness Center, because “it’s the ideal situation to take care of people.” Dr. Principe says, “Patients receive outstanding care and are offered the same level of service as in private practice. With the support of Roper St. Francis Hospital, eligible patients are able to get their medical needs addressed without worrying about finances.” As a volunteer, Dr. Principe is able to focus on the patient, without the business-related distractions. He encourages potential volunteers to visit our facilities and come see what we do!

Volunteer Spotlight is a column in The Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email If you’ d like to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach email

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