HOUSTON — John G. Batsakis, M.D., passed away Jan. 20, 2013. His family lost their beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. In addition, the medical community lost a leader in the field of pathology and particularly the field of head and neck pathology.
When accepting the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Clinical Pathology and College of American Pathologists in 2002, John Batsakis said the following, "The surgeon, Sir John Bland-Sutton, divided his life into three parts. In the first he learned his profession, in the second he taught it, and in the third, he enjoyed it. Only in the first has my professional career been different. Learning has been life-long even during my pedagogical times and continues now in the third part, where it is a source of enjoyment and even at times, wonder." He continued with, "In the teaching of pathology to students, residents and Fellows, it has been my goal to inculcate that the first obligation is to the patient; not to brother physicians." "I've enjoyed all but a few times in pathology. Especially gratifying were the many years of close association with otolaryngology, head and neck surgeons — with these clinicians I maintained pathology's obligation to the patient — directly or indirectly."
John received his Medical Degree from the University of Michigan in 1954 and interned at the George Washington University Hospital. A four-year residency in pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School was followed by a two-year service as assistant chief of the laboratory service, Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. From 1961 through 1979 John was on the faculty of the Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, achieving professor status in 1968. From 1979 to 1981 he was Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine. He joined The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1981 as the Chairman of the Division of Pathology and retired in 1996 as Professor Emeritus. Dr. Batsakis had numerous visiting professorships, many with the U.S. Army and also abroad. He had been an honored lecturer in Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
John was a Fellow of the ASCP and the CAP, A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom.
A major part of his professional career was in head and neck pathology, and he has been honored by otolaryngologic societies for his many contributions. He was author of 540 refereed publications in medical journals, was co-editor of "Advances I Anatomic Pathology", served on editorial boards of 11 journals, was author/co-author/editor of 10 books and 24 chapters, WHO panel Classification of Salivary Gland Tumors and was past chairman of the Commission on Anatomic Pathology. He is best remembered for his book, "Tumors of the Head and Neck: Clinical and Pathological Consideration" Editions I and II.
Family and friends will miss his laugh, his kind and gentle nature and keen sense of humor. His unassuming and quiet nature belied a strong affinity for humankind and everyone he met. His desire and capacity for learning and understanding extended beyond his professional life and into a wide variety of academic, historical, theological and artistic interests. John Batsakis loved books and shared his love for learning with his close friends and family.
Finally, John Batsakis loved his wife, children and grandchildren, and they loved him equally. As a father, spouse, colleague and friend, there was none better.
He leaves to mourn his loss his beloved wife of 55 years, Mary Janet Batsakis; his beloved children, Laura Hansen, Sharon Batsakis and George Batsakis and wife, Colleen; his beloved grandchildren, Richard D. (Trey) Hansen, Alexandra Hansen, Georgie (Gigi) Batsakis, and Mary (Maggie) Margaret Batsakis. He also leaves behind his dear twin sister, Mary Zographos, of Royal Oak; and several beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
A celebration of his life will be held in Traverse City in the spring.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.