Lives of the fellows

John Oubridge Mercer

b.1 April 1905 d.1972
CBE(1959) MB ChB NZ(1929) MRCP(1931) FRACP(1938) FRCP(1958)

John Mercer was director of pathology to the Wellington Hospital Board from 1935, and editor of the New Zealand Medical Journal from 1939 to 1967. He was born at Halifax, Yorkshire, his father being William Bracewell Mercer, a doctor, and his mother, Lucy Rachel, was the daughter of William Oubridge, a merchant. They emigrated to New Zealand when John was a child and he received his education at Waitaki High School and the University of Otago. He graduated MB ChB in 1929 and took his membership of the College in 1931. After junior appointments at the Wellington Hospital, and the Seaman’s Hospital, he became assistant pathologist at the Wellington in 1932 and in 1935 was appointed director of pathology to the Wellington Hospital Board. From 1955 he served on the Medical Council of New Zealand and was elected chairman in 1963. He was external examiner in pathology and medical jurisprudence to Otago Medical School and the University of New Zealand from 1941 to 1962, a foundation member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a member of the Australian College of Pathologists, and was elected president of the New Zealand Society of Pathologists in 1970.

During his time as editor of the New Zealand Medical Journal he developed the journal from a small handbook-type periodical of mainly local interest to an elegant monthly publication familiar to doctors all over the world. He took a deep interest in the BMA, being honorary secretary to the Wellington Division from 1934 to 1937, chairman of council of the New Zealand Branch from 1949 to 1952, and president in 1965. In 1967 he was elected a vice-president of the BMA in recognition of his outstanding services to the Association and to the profession.

In 1933 he married Rosalind Neill, the daughter of John Neill Keith, a medical practitioner, and they had four children. He was interested in sports, representing the University of Otago at tennis from 1925 to 1927. He was also a member of council of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1972, 1, 754]

(Volume VI, page 334)

<< Back to List