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John Oliver Pearce Edgcumbe

Consultant haematologist Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital 1952-85 (b Teignmouth 1920; q Cambridge/The London Hospital 1946; MD 1952, founder FCPath 1963), died from prostate cancer on 18 October 2001.

John Edgcumbe brought his quiet scholarship, integrity, and generosity of spirit to all he touched. He had early leanings towards paediatrics and neurology, and won the Queen Square Prize for Neurology in 1954, but, having developed his interest in haematology at the Hammersmith Hospital, he returned to his family roots as Devon’s first consultant haematologist. He established a modern pathology service in Exeter, particularly concerned to provide rapid laboratory results to speed diagnosis for patients. He oversaw the building of the area laboratory as the first phase of the relocated Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. He was president of the British Society for Haematology 1972-3 and president of the Devon and Exeter Medical Society in 1981-2.

A profoundly compassionate and learned physician, patient teacher, and devoted family man, he had many gifts and wide interests and knowledge, always freely shared. He was a scholar in 18th century art and literature, and after retirement held a visiting fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art to prepare an edition of the letters of his ancestor, Sir Joshua Reynolds (coedited with John Ingamells, and published by Yale University Press in 2000). He was a member of the Johnson Club. He was also a fine musician, naturalist, gardener, photographer and Devon historian. His Christian faith inspired his life selflessly and courageously given.

He is survived by his wife, Teryll; a daughter; a son; and four grandchildren. [Richard Pocock, Jane Shotter, Richard Edgcumbe]