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A tribute

Dr. J.C. Jacob carried wisdom and compassion in the depths of his soul

Campus and Community

Dr. J.C. Jacob passed away in India on Feb. 2, 2022, after a brief illness.

Dr. Jacob (known as J.C. to his friends) was born on Feb. 26, 1934. After graduating from the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, he moved in 1959 to the U.S. National Institute of Health in Bethesda to do musculoskeletal research.

Later, he moved to the famed Montreal Neurological Institute where he did further training in neurology. While in Montreal, he met and married Mary Buell, who was training in neurological nursing at the institute.

There he also met two fellows, Drs. Maroun and Lush, who became his colleagues later on in St. John’s. In 1964 he returned to the CMC as a faculty member and returned to Canada in 1968 and settled down in St. John’s, N.L.

Throughout his career he taught at Memorial’s medical school, where he was a clinical professor of medicine.

Medical pioneer

After retirement he remained in Newfoundland and Labrador until his beloved Mary passed away in 2018, after which he returned to India and settled down in Bangalore near his siblings.

As a neurologist, Dr. Jacob saw adult patients at the Health Sciences Centre, as well as children patients at the Janeway Hospital, while also maintaining a private practice.

His pioneering work at the children’s rehabilitation centre brought into focus the advantage of team work, particularly in the field of spina bifida, which he had a keen interest in.

He was renowned for his meticulous consultations that were completed in neat handwriting; all could read and marvel at his deductive analysis and diagnosis.

He had high expectations for himself and others. He was known to arrive to start ward rounds at the General Hospital at 6 a.m. and if the residents wanted to benefit from his teaching, they had to show up at that time, also.

Dr. Jacob was known at the national and international levels for his academic input. At the local scene, he was instrumental in promoting surgical treatment for epilepsy and worked by localizing scar tissue in the operating room.

‘Foster parents’ to new arrivals

Dr. Jacob and Mary helped many people quietly, modestly.

They were a relay help station for many who immigrated to Canada or to the U.S. via St. John’s, not just through their hospitality and generosity, but by giving them everyday details on how to live in North America.

They served as “foster parents” for newly arriving immigrants to Canada: refugees from Bosnia, South America, Trinidad, India and Sri Lanka. They were very involved with St. Andrew’s Church; Dr. Jacob loved music and sang in the Kirk choir.

He was an avid reader with a large collection of books and music.

For many, Dr. Jacob will be remembered as a pioneer in the field of neurology, a quiet and humble man who carried wisdom and compassion in the depths of his soul.

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