Let the memory of John be with us forever
  • 81 years old
  • Born on January 5, 1936 .
  • Passed away on November 27, 2017 .

Professor John H Coote, 81, was born on January 5, 1936 and died on November 27, 2017. 

John clearly had a big impact on many people throughout his entire life.  We would love to honour his memory by using this site to store and share together some of his achievements, your stories, memories and photos of John. 

The celebration of John's life will be held at 1pm on January 5, 2018, at Lodge Hill crematorium, Birmingham, B29 5AA.

We ask for no flowers please, however if you would like to send something then we have set up this site for charitable donations in his memory at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/someonespecial/John_H_Coote

Posted by Martin Savage on 6th July 2018
A clearly very wonderful man. How lovely to read the stories and experience of those lives he changed. His commitment to Science is amazing and Professor Coote will never be forgotten, clearly x
Posted by Peter Walker on 8th January 2018
I was a junior technician when John returned from Japan in 1973. John’s brilliance as an academic attracted excellent financial support for his projects and he carried his commitment to his work through to his staff. His amazing ability to encourage and develop those around him by never making people feel awkward or inhibited when learning produced a very strong, happy and committed team, in addition to benefiting many students. These qualities were to manifest on a much larger scale which I will mention later but before I do, I would particularly like to tell you a lovely story which occurred when John, having discovered that a pregnant member of his team was ineligible for maternity pay, telephoned the University’s administration. “Hello, my name is Coote, are you the person dealing with maternity pay administration?” “Yes, how can I help you?” “I’m telephoning on behalf of a member of my team who’s failed to qualify for maternity benefits because she didn’t inform you that she was pregnant within the period you stipulate.” “I’m afraid in that case, we’re unable to assist her.” “She’s currently 16 weeks pregnant, are you suggesting that she wasn’t pregnant during the period you stipulate she should have applied?” “I’m sorry, I don’t see the relevance of your question”. “Well she had to be pregnant during the notification period so surely she should qualify for the benefits?” “I’m sorry doctor but it doesn’t work like that”. “Well if she wasn’t pregnant during the period laid down, are you suggesting she became pregnant at 16 weeks via divine intervention?” “I really don’t see the relevance of your point, she doesn’t qualify for any maternity benefits.” “Would you mind telling me where you’re speaking to me from?” “Well, I’m in the Personnel Department Dr Coote.” “Oh yes, I know that but where exactly are you?” “In the department on the main campus.” “Yes, yes, I know that but where is your office located?” “Well it’s adjacent to the lift on the first floor, why do you want to know?” “Because I’m going to visit you right now and stick the telephone you’re holding right up your ……” Needless to say John’s commitment and intolerance of petty bureaucracy produced a satisfactory result. I moved to Pembrokeshire in 1978 and John was my best man when Jane and I married in 1979. I visited the Medical School soon after John had been appointed to Head of Department. I walked up the steps to the first floor and stood looking at the staff board, almost in tears. Instead of the previous hierarchical list everyone’s picture and name was displayed in alphabetical order. I wandered into John’s offices and after we’d chatted for a while John took me to meet the staff at coffee time. As we walked into the corridor a technician approached us and asked John a question, addressing him as John. After he’d gone, I turned and said to him “It’s John now is it?” (As opposed to Prof) and he smiled in the knowledge that I was in for a further surprise: the three common rooms had been amalgamated into one, freeing up valuable space for research and importantly all the staff, whatever their rank, the opportunity to fully integrate; the atmosphere was quite fantastic. Under John’s leadership, the department was growing and notably it was attracting some impressive people and achieving excellent results. John benefited mankind immensely through his work and those who knew him are all better off for his friendship. However, his dedication to his work and his staff was completely surpassed when it came to his family for whom his devotion was unconditional. Sue was the love of his life and the family they created will have the best memories of us all. Thank you John.
Posted by Stuart Egginton on 6th January 2018
It's hard to add anything new to the tributes already given, as John's many qualities were evident to all who had the fortune to know him. He stood above his peers by matching intellect and knowledge with a generosity of spirit and support for colleagues. One example: he appointed me to my first academic position and promptly gave permission for me to leave on extended fieldwork! An example to all, greatly missed.
Posted by Keith Brain on 5th January 2018
I’ll always remember John’s kind support when I moved to the University of Birmingham in 2009. I particularly admire his work on the vagal regulation of the heart; one of my lectures to our final-year BSc students now focuses on his research on the vagus and the ways in which this nerve regulates the ventricles of the heart. I’ll also remember him randomly ‘popping in’ to my office to discuss both science and university politics, a welcome voice of experience delivered with enthusiastic drive.
Posted by Susan Pyner on 4th January 2018
John was my PhD supervisor and I continued working with him as a post-doc. Throughout my career he was encouraging, supportive and above all a good friend. He will always be my Physiology hero.
Posted by Alan Rickinson on 3rd January 2018
John has been a University colleague and friend for >25 years and it's hard to imagine that the two of us will never again be drinking wine and putting the world to rights after another of Sue's culinary masterpieces in Greenfield Road. John was a born scientist but not just that ..... one memory will suffice. During his inaugural lecture to a broad audience (every new Professor's nightmare) he interspersed complex neurophysiology with thinking time .... slides of the mountain peaks, ice ridges, azure skies that were his other passion .... and said "Now, just rest your eyes that and let it sink in!" .... that's what I call brilliant!
Posted by Ash Kahn on 3rd January 2018
John's unexpected death was a shock to Sally and myself. I first came across John when I was an anxious undergraduate studying medicine at Birmingham and John was such a reassuring tutor and lecturer who stimulated my interest in physiology. We met up again through Sue many years later. John was a man with many extraordinary qualities. They say that break-throughs in knowledge are made by standing on the shoulders of giants - it is clear that John was one of those giants who has stimulated a great number of researchers throughout the world. Besides his many accomplishments in the scientific arena he was also a family man. He once told me that he regarded himself to be one of luckiest men in the world having met Sue and having such wonderful children. We have many fond memories of him and will miss him.
Posted by Anthony Collier on 2nd January 2018
Penny and I had so many memorable occasions with John and Sue. John and I came from very different academic backgrounds but for me, I learnt so much from John's exceptional mind, his openness to ideas and to discourse across the disciplines. A great straight-talker - no jargon with John. His practical and wise words always struck a chord generating new thoughts and ideas and underlining how much we have in common whatever our academic, cultural or educational backgrounds. An extraordinary man with innumerable exceptional qualities, open to many ways of thinking. Ant and Penny Collier
Posted by Janine Fletcher on 2nd January 2018
We were very shocked and saddened to hear about John, we all thought he would be with us forever. I joined John's group in 1996, completed my PhD under his supervision and continued as a post-doc for a short time. I am indebted to him for his encouragement, enthusiasm and wisdom, not just about Physiology, but life in general, and they were always given with a smile. I will miss him immensely, but am honoured to have been a friend of his. We will treasure our memories of him. Janine Fletcher and Paul Barrow
Posted by Bruno Frenguelli on 29th December 2017
I was very saddened to hear of John’s passing. I first met John when I was in the first year of my PhD in 1990 when my supervisor, Graham Collingridge, moved from Bristol to Birmingham. I was the first to move my rig and John kindly provided me with space and resources in the Physiology Dept until the labs became available in Pharmacology. He was always very supportive and interested in what I was doing, and this continued up until when I last saw him at the BNA meeting in Birmingham earlier this year, where, as for several previous years, he arranged with the BNA for a speaker – in this case the Nobel Laureate, May-Britt Moser - to give the Wolstencroft Memorial Lecture. John was an excellent scientist, a valued mentor and a really nice person to boot. His passing is a great loss.
Posted by Rubina Mian on 24th December 2017
John had a sense of humour that could defuse the most serious of situations. He was invited by my supervisor to be an internal PhD examiner (Professor Charles Michel from Oxford University being the external examiner). The day of my Viva came and I was suitably terrified by having two Physiology heavy weights as examiners. John started the Viva by saying ‘The most serious fault I found, is that you’ve spelt David Patterson incorrectly. Paterson is spelt with a single ‘t’! He was generous with his time and knowledge and was the first to volunteer his blood when I wanted to explore leukocyte structure and function. He treasured those scanning microscope pictures of his blood. He took time to bring me out of my shell and asked me to arrange the Department Christmas Quizz. I was horrified but it did the trick. He won an award at that Quizz and was as proud of it as any formal award. He hung the prize on his door for many years. He gave words of wisdom when I needed them ‘Don’t let one person ruin your day.’ He encouraged me to collaborate with the RAF, but not to go down by bus! Hire a car, he said. I’ll pay!’ And he did. Unknown to many he supported children of Sherpas to attend school. He loved brainstorming ideas over a coffee and a piece of Fry’s Turkish Delight. He was kind and generous. He shared funny stories of his travels, but was fearless when he saw injustice. He advised me to be the same. John led by example. It was an honour to have known him. I’ll miss him. He was one of a kind. Rubina Mian
Posted by Matt Farmer on 21st December 2017
It was with very great sadness that I learnt of the news of John's passing. John was the most important teacher and mentor that I have had in my career and I can hardly believe that he is no longer with us. I joined John's lab in 1996 and undertook my PhD under his supervision. John literally gave me my career in the opportunity that he afforded me, and each and every day since I use the skills that he taught me, not only as a scientist but also as a leader. He was a very kind and generous man, and also one of the most well-known and influential scientists in his field. My time at Birmingham working in John's group was the happiest time of my life; our team was a second family to me and I made life-long friendships and experienced great growth, both personally and academically. Words can not express the huge gratitude and debt that I owe to John and my memories of him will always be a great inspiration to me.
Posted by Heiner Evanschitzky on 19th December 2017
We were saddened by the news of John's passing! Our thoughts are with Sue and the family. Greenfield Road will be a lesser place without John. The neighbors Heiner, Dorothee, Ben & Mia
Posted by James Jones on 17th December 2017
John was one of my favorite scientists in the Phys. Soc. He brightened the room. Meetings will not be the same without him.
Posted by Hakam Khalidi on 16th December 2017
I will miss John and miss having our coffees together in Harborne. I have known John for over 20 years as my PhD supervisor, as a mentor, as a colleague and as a good friend. John was a genuine person with all what this word means; he was full of life, and was an inspiration to all around him. I learnt so much from John on a professional and personal level. He will always be missed but not forgotten. My deepest condolences to his kind and generous family. Hakam Khalidi
Posted by Jon Townend on 13th December 2017
Sad to hear of John's passing, he was a great man and a great scientist. I am proud to have been a friend and colleague for many years. Wise, kind, fun, enthusiastic, supportive and utterly determined when necessary. We wrote lots of papers together and working with him was always entertaining and educational. A complete physiologist with huge expertise and skills across the board from basic laboratory work to clinical science. Also great company on nights out! He will be missed and remembered with great fondness by all who were lucky enough to know him.
Posted by Steve MIfflin on 11th December 2017
Having read and cited John’s work, it was a great pleasure to meet and get to know him at a Phys Soc meeting in Liverpool, 1990. I attended the ISAN Inaugural Conference in Cairns, Australia, in 1997 and signed up for a day tour of the Daintree rain forest. I was a bit apprehensive about doing the tour alone, when to my great surprise and pleasure John was had also booked the tour, so we spent the day looking for cassowary. He was a great scientist and a great person and I think him for making that a day I will never forget. May he rest in peace and God bless his family.
Posted by Simon Gladwell on 7th December 2017
We were both sorry to hear the news, somehow we always thought he would go on forever (clearly didn't learn that bit of physiology very well!) He was our Cilla Black! Happily married for 16 years following 2 PhDs in his laboratory. We enjoyed his company and Scottish dancing at our wedding in 2001. He had so much time for everyone and at every level, something we could all learn from at times. Sadly missed but never forgotten Simon & Valerie Gladwell (nee Bothams)
Posted by Zhuo Yang on 7th December 2017
We were very shocked to hear of John's passing which happened so suddenly. We indeed can't believe this grievous and sad news. John was so energetic with us in China to climb the mountain which is located in Ji-xian County and not far from the city Tianjin where we reside during his visiting our University. We really expect him to come to China again, however, this becomes an impossible dream. He is our well-loved supervisor. During our studying and working in Birmingham, he showed loving care for us and gave us a lot of help. Certainly, there are a lot of good memories in our mind that will be remembered. We are now senior academic staffs in the University and always busy, and we don't have a lot of contact with him. However, we know he's there, in Birmingham, in England, the root of our academic career. Both Tao and I certainly believe that John is always with us and in our hearts. We remember him forever.
Posted by Roger Dampney on 6th December 2017
John was a giant in our field, and a person of great integrity whom I admired and liked very much. I first met him when I was a young post-doc, and I greatly appreciated his generous support at that time and on many occasions since. He was the editor-in-chief of Experimental Physiology at the time I was one of the editors, and he did an excellent job in promoting that journal. He was very active in science up until the end of his life. John was a very fine person, and he will be greatly missed by many people all around the world.
Posted by Francois Abboud on 6th December 2017
What makes our life beautiful is that we share it with phenomenal individuals who inspire with their passion and dedication, their intellect and knowledge, their candor and integrity, their kindness and generosity, their humbleness and modesty. The legacy of John's numerous scientific discoveries is enshrined in our minds because of the simple goodness and love of life with which he touched everyone of us. We are forever grateful. Frank Abboud
Posted by Andre Ng on 4th December 2017
I was shocked to hear of John's passing which happened so suddenly. We were still corresponding days ago, discussing the paper John's been writing with the latest data from the research work we've been doing together - which epitomises John's passion and quest for ground truth and research advancement, to which he has accomplished enormously in his lifetime's contribution to science. I relish the memory of how he helped and supported me unswervingly early in my research career when I first went from Glasgow to Birmingham. I have learnt so much from him, both scientifically and personally in and out of research. We've had such fun doing science! One thing that characterises John was his generosity - with his time and patience: from taking the most inexperienced person through a complex technique to hearing all your toils and grumble from challenges, to which he was always able to provide sound and helpful advice. John is already sorely missed but will be very fondly remembered......
Posted by Irving Zucker on 3rd December 2017
I was very sorry to hear of John's passing. He contributed so much to our understanding of the neural underpinning of cardiovascular function. His wisdom has been passed on to many scientists. His legacy will live in his published works and close friendships. My condolences to the family.-Irv Zucker
Posted by David Paterson on 3rd December 2017
I was terribly saddened to receive this news. John and I go back more than 30 years from when we first met in Kathmandu in 1984. He was responsible for encouraging me to come to Oxford to study. But it was the close friendship I developed with him over many years as a consequence of more expeditions to Peru and Nepal in the 80's and 90's, that I really got to know 'the man'. Academically we wrote the leading monograph chapter on the neural control of the circulation in 'Peripheral Neuropathy' in 2005. Such a fun time whilst I served as his deputy when he Chaired the editorial board of Experimental Physiology. He turned that journal around. John was a great mentor and friend. His self-effacing demeanour endeared him to all. A giant in the field who was the quiet achiever who never sort applause. I always felt he never got the public recognition he deserved. However, his pupils and colleagues adored him. He was much loved. In recent times his trips every year to Oxford with Sue to stay with Carol and myself were always eagerly anticipated. The world was certainly a more interesting place with his presence. Now I shall have to learn to live without him. In piam memoriam. David Paterson

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