Dr. John Austin Field
1935 - 2020
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Dr. John Austin Field
May 6, 1935- October 7, 2020
Santa Cruz, CA
Dr. John Austin Field died in his home on Wednesday, October 7 with loving family by his side. John was born May 6, 1935 to John (Jack) and Sally Field in San Francisco. His father was a Physiology Professor at Stanford University, where he met John's mother, a graduate student in Chemistry, and was the eldest of three sons. John had an early love of all things mechanical, especially trains and radios, and this early penchant of collecting discarded radios, phonographs and similar in order to study, take apart, sort out and restore became a life-long endeavor. His academically oriented family encouraged his interests in engineering and science, and he enrolled and excelled in Engineering School at UCLA in 1952. During his summers he enjoyed working in the Department of Radiology at UCLA, an intersection of medicine and engineering that led to him becoming a pre-med student in his final year. He completed medical school at UCLA, followed by internship and residency at LA County General Hospital where he entered Orthopedic Medicine.
He enrolled in the Army Medical Corps for two years via the Berry Plan, and was deployed to the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Korea, between Seoul and Inchon, in 1966. He met and married Wilma Buursma, RN, also stationed at the 121st, in 1966, and had their first child, John C in 1967. John and Wilma settled in Santa Cruz, California in 1968, and John began working at the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic on Mission Street. Daughter Cara Lisa and son David Buursma were born in Santa Cruz. In addition to family activities, John was a highly engaged antique collector, inventor, and machinist who both admired and was loved and admired by honorable, hard-working people.
John joined the Orthopedics Department at Kaiser Permanente in 1980, and although he was divorced in the early 1990s, he remarried in 1993 to Dianne Farison. John and Dianne met through the Los Angeles Microscope Society, where he was well known for his extensive knowledge of historical Leitz microscopes. John retired in 1999 and he and Dianne spent the next 21 years exploring and expanding their shared admiration of marvelous engineering feats, exceptional accomplishments, history, and natural wonders. Even as physical and mental hardships of age set in over recent years, John would regain a sparkle in his eye and share knowledge and memories of classic steam trains and cars, pipe organs and player pianos, the wonders of microscopy, or the occasional friendly cat. He is survived by his wife Dianne, his three children (John C. Field, Cara Field and David Field), two grandchildren (Severin and Sophia Field), his ex-wife Wilma Field, daughters in-law Anna Zagorska and Laurie Temple Field, brother Charles Field, cousins Peter and Katherine Nelson, niece Amanda Field, and nephews Daniel, Robert and John D. Field. No services are planned at this time; donations may be sent to Hospice of Santa Cruz.

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Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Oct. 18, 2020.
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6 entries
November 5, 2020
Lisa Carter
November 5, 2020
We always loved seeing John and Dianne when they came into Water Star Motors to have his 1984 300DT Mercedes serviced. Always so very kind and nice. John will be missed!
Lisa & Henry Carter
October 23, 2020
As President of the Microscopical Society (MSSC), I sadly circulated the following notice to all members on Oct. 10, 2020. This was news that brought grief to all who were acquainted with our beloved friend and honorable member, Dr. John Field. Our prayers are with his family.
Dear MSSC Members:
It seems that in the last few years I have been required to carry out the single most difficult obligation of President of our Society. I’m sad to report the passing of our good friend and longtime member, Dr. John Field. John passed last Wednesday after a few weeks of convalescents. He was born On May 6, 1935 and passed on Oct 7, 2020. He was born in San Francisco and lived his final days at his home in Santa Cruz California. He was survived by his wife Diane and his three children, John C, Cara and David. John was a very close personal friend and shared my affection for microscopy and slide collecting. He became very well-known throughout the world as the expert on the history of the Leitz microscope firm. In addition to writing a number of valuable papers on the Leitz microscope, he accumulated an extensive collection of Leitz instruments. If Leitz manufactured it, John likely had it in his collection.
His professional life was that of an Orthopedic Surgeon with the reputation of the highest regard. However, his best contribution to his patients and friends was his legendary kindness and regard for other people. He was truly one of those guys that would give you the shirt off his back if you truly needed it. If you had a question about a subject that he was well versed, he would spare no effort or time to provide you with his knowledge. A good friend and an indispensable human being.
This has been a very bad year for almost all of us. Dr. John Field will be greatly missed by all who knew him!
Sincerely, Jim Solliday, Pres. MSSC
Notice: Oct 10, 2020
James Solliday
October 18, 2020
Hi friends- we do plan to hold an online memorial for John in mid-November, if you were a friend or colleague and would like to participate, please email me (John's son) at jcfield@ucsc.edu
John Field
October 18, 2020
John and I were friends at Jordan Junior High School in Palo Alto. I especially remember spending days at his family’s home at Stanford. There was a Model T Ford that we tried and tried to get running by various means and never succeeded. In the house we had a great time with his assortment of Lionel trains. The most fascinating thing was a vast amount of roll-up track which we could expand into an infinite layout throughout his whole upstairs. After junior high, John’s family moved to Washington D.C. and we saw each other only occasionally, yet those rare get-togethers were most enjoyable.
Daniel Paige
October 18, 2020
I remember Dr. Fields. He was a really nice Doctor.
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