Shared by Charles Singer on 11th January 2019

I first met John in October 1970 as we queued to matriculate for first year Medicine in the University of Glasgow. I liked him immediately and I can still picture the bright, enthusiastic and idealistic teenager who was always surprised later that I knew his Matriculation Number was 700385! Our paths crossed in Medical School many times thereafter and we shared a tenement flat for the year we both undertook an intercalated science degree in Pathology with the identical special interest in liver pathology. Along with a third flat-mate, Allan, that flat turned into a competitive intellectual hot-house! John’s commitment to knowledge constantly raised the bar and I am certain that my degree grade would have suffered without our stimulating, sometimes challenging, but always illuminating debates and discussions. Sadly, after graduation from Medical School our career paths, and probably focus, meant that we lost touch though I remember our paths crossed again all too briefly in London in 1988, when John joined the Middlesex Hospital already planning his return to the USA and I was about to leave UCH. I barely knew Alison and never met Katie or Chris but I do know their lives will have been enriched by John's talents and enthusiasm. 

I will always recall John’s generosity, intelligence, drive and superb sense of humour. It is no surprise to learn that John became a respected clinician, successful academic, warmly remembered teacher and much-loved husband and father. A good man, taken too early.

Shared by Carl Gessner on 14th November 2018

I worked for and with John in the early 1990s as a resident and fellow at Duke. He was a great teacher, mentor and friend. I was always amazed at his brilliance and wide range of skills and knowledge not just in medicine but life in general. While he certainly helped develop me as a physician I will particularly remember how much he improved my ability as a writer during the time I worked with him. It was clear to me that John always took his job as a  professor seriously and was committed to the institution and developing those around him to their full potential. And boy, what a way with jokes and stories.  He could really make you laugh! I know I and many others will miss him but have many fond memories.

Shared by Deborah Fisher on 12th November 2018

I recently found and reread two letters John wrote for me 7 and 9 years ago.  These were in support of my applications for a committee assignment and for Fellowship in the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.  He was a vivid writer and a strong sponsor and mentor.  He was also a dear friend.  He was proud of my accomplishments and encouraging during rough times.  One of my favorite memories is that he titled the document file for one of the letters "YouGoGirl".

Shared by Alex Colquhoun on 10th November 2018

Some 3 years ago, I reconnected with John, a fellow Scot, in the endoscopy suite at VCU Medical Center. We instantly bonded, sharing stories, experiences and enjoyed working together. John’s knowledge, technical skill and incisive wit, were formidable. After work we enjoyed an occasional game of golf.

Since his surgery, Linda and I have observed Alison’s constant care, supported by family, and John’s determination in fighting for recovery, before terminally, succumbing to failing health. 

Although untimely taken, good memories remain. The words of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, are apposite –

            An honest man here lies at rest, 

            As e’er God with His image blest: 

            The friend of man, the friend of truth;

            The friend of age, and guide of youth:

            Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,

            Few heads with knowledge so inform’d:

            If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;

            If there is none, he made the best of this.

Alex & Linda Colquhoun

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