b.11 April 1911 d.6 June 1979
BA Cantab(1932) MB BChir(1936) MD(1938) FRCP C(1950) FRCP*(1969)
John Frederic Paterson was born in London and educated at Felsted School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He pursued his clinical studies at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. His father was a manufacturer, Herbert May Paterson, and his mother, Catherine Ethel, was the daughter of John Parsons, also a manufacturer.
After moving to Canada, he served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps throughout the second world war, both in Canada, England and NW Europe, and retired with the rank of major, medical specialist. On demobilization he was appointed director of medicine at the department of Veterans’ Affairs Hospital in Kingston, Ontario. In 1948 he became director of the chest clinic, Christie Street and Sunnybrook Hospitals, Toronto; he was attending physician at Toronto Western Hospital, was appointed consultant to the Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, in 1959 and was head of the department of medicine, Sunnybrook Medical Centre, University of Toronto, from 1966 to 1974.
His many students will remember his devotion to education since starting, in 1949, as a clinical teacher, then assistant professor, and later associate professor of medicine at the University; finally being appointed coordinator of continuing medical education for the nine departments of medicine in Toronto teaching hospitals in 1974, when he also became professor and head of the department of medicine in the University. He was deeply involved in establishing Sunnybrook as an academic teaching centre; he recruited many of the staff and set a pattern for cooperation between departments which the staff were glad to follow.
In 1937 he married Trude Anna, daughter of Friedrich Rehm, a manufacturer, and they had four children: two sons and two daughters. He listed his hobbies as collecting Canadian furniture and growing trees.
John Paterson was a modest man who would seldom talk about his achievements, but his reputation as an expert in the field of industrial lung injury was worldwide, and during his distinguished career he received many honours and awards. Those who knew and worked with him remember a true gentleman, to whom courtesy and consideration for others were as natural as breathing; he preferred to instruct by example, and his students and staff learned many a lesson in care and compassion.
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
* Elected under the special bye-law which provides for the election to the fellowship of "Persons holding a medical qualification, but not Members of the College, who have distinguished themselves in the practice of medicine, or in the pursuit of Medical or General Science or Literature.."
[Lancet, 1979, 2, 374]
(Volume VII, page 450)
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