Lives of the fellows

John Erskine Grayhurst Pearson

b.14 September 1908 d.31 July 1992
MRCS LRCP(1934) BM ChB Oxon(1935) MRCP(1936) DM(1941) FRCP(1951)

Jack Pearson was born in Wilkieston, Midlothian, Scotland. His father, Herbert Grayhurst Pearson, was a judge in India and knighted in 1931. His mother, Anne Erskine née Scott, was the daughter of a chartered accountant. Jack was educated at Rugby School and University College, Oxford. Throughout his life he was a very keen sportsman, being particularly talented in cricket and hockey. He was a member of Vincent’s Club. He trained in clinical medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, London, and did his house jobs there, with G E Beaumont [Munk's Roll. Vol.VI, p.33] and Douglas McAlpine [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.349]. He then went to work at the Brompton Hospital with Clifford Hoyle [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.279] and decided on chest medicine as his career.

He subsequently returned to the Middlesex Hospital as medical registrar, transferring to the EMS Hospital at Mount Vernon - with the medical students - during the war. Towards the end of the war he entered the RAFVR as a medical specialist with the rank of acting wing commander. In 1946 he was appointed a consultant physician at the Connaught Hospital, Walthamstow, and his final appointment was as consultant in chest medicine to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, in 1948.

Jack continued to publish research until his retirement, with special interest in aspergillosis and oesophageal reflux. Whilst carrying out his medical duties to the best of his ability he also had a very full home life. After retirement in 1973 his lifelong interest in sport led him to take up golf and he was intent on improving his play right up to the time of his stroke.

He met his future wife Ruth, daughter of Admiral Sir Percy Addison RN, when both were medical students. They married in 1938 and had two children of whom he was truly proud, Anthony and Jean. Anthony is now a consultant physician. Ruth worked in general practice after they came to Bristol and without their ideal home life Jack could not have been so contented and happy a physician. Together they created a beautiful garden.

Jack Pearson was an English gentleman, without show but with an admirable balance of enthusiasms between family, friends, work and hobbies. Those who worked with him have happy memories of his tall, patrician figure, his laughter and anecdotes. He was able to resolve an anxious situation with an ease which comes only from experience and common sense. He enioyed teaching and examining, and his interest in this field was rewarded by his appointment as an examiner for the College.

C Burns-Cox

[Brit.med.J., 1993,306,138]

(Volume IX, page 414)

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