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Dr. John Meyer

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Dr. John Meyer Obituary


John Stirling Meyer (1924 – 2011) The endlessly talented and disci­plined John Stirling Meyer suf­fered a stroke on Valentine's Day, Feb 14th, and passed away on Friday, Feb. 17th with the people he loved around him at Methodist Hospital. Pioneering Dr. Meyer's im­mense influential research in Neu­rology improved the understand­ing of blood flow to the head, dementia and head injuries. This research provided a framework for new & innovative medical think­ing once the physician went to the bedside of a patient. His work unquestionably made contribu­tions world-wide to the medical teaching of Neurology.
Dr. Meyer's great-grandpar­ents left Erfurt, Germany, to travel to South Africa as Lutheran mis­sionaries and brought religion to the De Beer's Diamond mining ar­eas around Kimberly. Dr. Meyer's father, William Charles Bernard Meyer, won a Rhodes Scholarship to medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland, at 16 years of age and later, had a brilliant career in surgery on Harley Street in Lon­don. He married Alice Elizabeth Stirling in Edinburgh. Dr. Meyer was born in London.
Dr. Meyer's voracious love of reading and learning led his parents to the interesting school in Kensington called Frobal Edu­cational Institute, where a young boy could choose his favorite top­ics to study. At this young age of 4-6, Dr. Meyer learned fluent French, wrote his first book and caught newts & frogs for his aquarium. He relished the out­doors and nature! Throughout his life, his love of golfing and fishing on different continents of the world brought happy times for he and his fam­ily.
He was very happy about having two holes-in-one and en­joyed playing golf with his buddies at River Oaks Country Club.
Around twelve years of age, Dr. Meyer joined his older brother at Westminster School, Westmin­ster Abbey, where he was a King's Scholar and played soccer and be­came an excellent swimmer, which he would continue all his life in all weather conditions. With the bombing of London in WW11, he won the English Speaking Union's Scholarship at 16 years of age and left for Kent School in Kent, Conn. German submarines chased his ship across the Atlantic. He graduated with the highest hon­ors and was Valedictorian of the Class of 1941. Scholarships helped him achieve his goals. Later in life, he would give finan­cial help to medical students globally. His premedical education and B.S. degree were from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Next, he received a Master of Sci­ences in Neurosciences at Mon­treal Neurological Institute, where he worked with Dr. Wilder Pen­field, famed neurosurgeon and epilepsy pioneer. He earned his M.D. and C.M. (Master of Surgery) at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Meyer completed training in Internal Medicine at Yale University and later earned Neurology/Psychiatry, Neurophysiology and Neuropathology degrees from Harvard Medi­cal School, where he was a member of the faculty. At Harvard Medical School, he worked with Dr. Denny Brown, Prof & Chair of Neurology and received his Fellow­ship and Board Certifications in Psychaitry, EEG and Neuro-Psy­chology.
Dr. Meyer became a U.S. citizen when he was needed in the Korean War and the Navy quickly drafted him into service and sent him to the Pacific. They put him in charge of all head injuries as Lieutenant Senior Grade of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps where he directed the Navy's hospital ships.
Formerly the #1 Japanese hospital in WW11, the Americans took over Yokosuka Hospital and Dr. Meyer was placed in charge of head injuries. Dur­ing these 27 months, he learned fluent Japanese and successfully compared head injuries between WW11 and the Korean War, which led to further research. After the was, he returned to Harvard and he both taught and ran his research lab. In 1957, at the young age of 33, he became the founding professor and chairman of Neu­rology at Wayne State School of Medicine and formed a new residency training program there with Victor Rivera, David Bar­ron & Robert Herndon, who were his first trainees & neurological graduates.
Dr. Meyer was the youngest person ever as a chairman and pro­fessor of a medical department at that time in the U.S.A.
Dr. Meyer was the first to recognize stroke-patients and wrote the early textbooks used in medical schools. He was chair­man of the Stroke Panel of the President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke at the White House in Washington, D.C. He had many fascinating stories of the President Kennedy and President Johnson. He received the attention of Dr. Mike De­Bakey and came to Houston as Chairman of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine. A mem­ber of numerous international and national societies, he was the three-time recipient of the Harold G. Wolff Award. Known as the ""Father of Neurology of Japan"", he also was awarded the Mihara International Award for Stroke Research in Tokyo, Japan.
He was awarded numerous scientific awards and honors. He authored and edited 30 text­books (three editions of Medical Neurology) and 930 scientific articles on diagnosis and treatment of stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, vascular de­mentia, and hemorrhagic strokes, he worked to the end of his life. As a retired Professor Emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Meyer was in full-time prac­tice at United Neurology at the time of his death.
Dr. John Stirling Meyer was a great adventurer; his supreme sense of curiosity in all things led him to explore and travel. He was known as an expert on Alexander the Great. He believed in be­ing a good American Citizen and was extremely proud of his new country. He told everyone that ""happiness"" should be your goal in life. He loved practicing medicine and he was truly a doctor's doc­tor in every sense. He loved his patients dearly. Always the individualist, he thought out side of the box. Dr. Meyer believed in pushing–the-envelope, considering the big pic­ture and that ""not possible"" was not acceptable. Dr. Meyer was deeply intellectual and had a sharp British wit. His love of golfing, poetry, fishing, Chagall, theatre and the knowledge of music, gardening and literature were always enter­taining for his family. Dr. Meyer fought the good fight; he ran the good race.
Dr. Meyer, a special man, was well-loved and his family shall miss his love and support. He had many friends whom he loved and en­joyed. Dr. Meyer was a person who loved his life and lived the life he loved…possessing the greatest degree of purpose or fascinating occasion.
Dr. Meyer was predeceased by his parents, his beloved brother, Edward, and sister, Margaret, in England; his daughter, Jane; his wives, Wendy and Khaki. He is sur­vived by his sister and her husband, Helen and Michael Greene in London; his loving wife, Cora Bess Meyer; his daughters and their husbands, Liz and Ted Ries, Annie and Alan Wilkinson, Helen and Chris Smith, Margaret Meyer, Michelle and Jeff Foutch, and Mica and Elias Selman; their children and grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 2 PM Tuesday, February 22nd at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., Houston, Texas with the reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in John Stiriling Meyer's name to be directed to the Rev. Laurens A. Hall, D.D., Rector of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Feb. 19 to Mar. 20, 2011
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