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Dr. John Elmer "Jack" Prichard

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Dr. John Elmer "Jack" Prichard Obituary
DR. JOHN ELMER (JACK) PRICHARD Dr. John Elmer (Jack) Prichard died Sept. 19, 2012, after an illness of pancreatic cancer. Jack was born Nov. 19, 1923, in Washington, D.C., into a family with Pennsylvania roots dating to before the Civil War. He grew up in Washington, graduating from Catholic University and George Washington University Medical School. He married Esther, nee Esther Bell Beatty, his wife of 67 years, on Jan. 4, 1946. In the early '50s, the family lived alternately in the Washington D.C. area and Arizona and California, as Jack completed internship and residency along with service in the U.S. Navy. He returned to California in 1954, opening a family practice in the old bank building in the center of Corona (Sixth and Main). In 1956, the family - now with children Jane, John and Suzanne - again traversed America for Jack's surgical residency at the Veterans Administration hospital (affiliated with Johns Hopkins University), Perry Point, Md., and the University of Oklahoma Medical School, Oklahoma City. Jack and Esther decided to settle in Corona. A 30-year Corona surgeon, he opened his office at 815 S. Main in 1959, retiring in 1990. He was the second board-certified surgeon in Corona and later was elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In his career, Jack worked at Corona Hospital and Riverside's county and community hospitals, also at various institutions and rest homes. He served as Chief of the Medical Staff at Corona Hospital in 1970; chair of the Surgery Department at Riverside General Hospital in the early '80s; Director, Tri County Surgical Society of Southern California; and associate clinical professor of surgery at Loma Linda University for many years. He also had a fling with politics and lobbied for a District Hospital for four years in the mid 60s, being elected to the Corona Unified Hospital District board where he was president/director in 1966. Jack was very active in community organizations, including the Lions Club, Corona Senior Center Men's Coffee Club, Community Concert Association, Top Hatters social/dance club, Missile Twisters Square Dance Club, Corona United Methodist Church and more. In his career as well as his many avocations, Jack's dedication and expertise is legend, yet always sustained by an underlying humility, humanity, and sense of humor. He loved to play the violin and in retirement started a band called "Fractured Symmetry." He was a prolific writer of essays and philosophical commentary, and was the longtime editor of the bulletin of Corona Host Lions Club and the coordinator of an oral history project ("Full Circle") on Corona's citrus industry. He was also a founding member of the University of California Riverside Life Society; and the originator of a club called UEGORS (Urban Explorers Going on Rails) dedicated to exploring the rail system of Southern California. Known as the "bearded surgeon," he was famous for riding his bike around town. When they were in their 50s, he and Esther logged more than 2,300 miles of Southern California bicycling, including a 47 mile trip from Corona to the beach. He enjoyed other sports and recreation activities including tennis, ice skating, sledding and fishing - and always made sure his family had plenty from which to choose, like shuffleboard, basketball, table tennis or billiards. He was a voracious reader, and other hobbies included traveling, history and math, astronomy. He also enjoyed his beach house on Balboa Island. In a word, Jack was "fun," according to his family. He and Esther have always been known for their hospitality, generosity and good conversation. "On a deeper level, there are other words that might describe our father," his children said, "but he is the spark that drives our humor, intellectual curiosity and imagination." He is survived by his wife, Esther, and children Sophia Jane Szabo of Anchorage, Ak., John Stanley Prichard of Ventura, Calif., and Suzanne Ruth Prichard of Corona, along with daughter-in-law Michelle Broneau Prichard and son-in-law Dezso Szabo. He is also survived by grandchildren John (Jake) Prichard, Anne Prichard, Alicia Auleta, Michael Auleta, Steven Auleta, Joseph Prichard Szabo and Rose Szabo. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ruth Prichard of Hunlock Creek, Pa./Washington, D.C.; and sister and brother-in-law, Gladys and Bill Eggert, Skokie, Ill. A funeral service will be held at noon Thursday, September 27, at Corona United Methodist Church, 2800 California Ave., with reception following at 1:30 p.m. at Eagle Glen Golf Course, 1800 Eagle Glen Parkway. Burial will be at Sunnyslope Cemetery in Corona. Donations in Dr. Prichard's name may be made to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN), www.pancan.org, 1-877-272-6226.
Published in Press-Enterprise on Sept. 23, 2012
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