|John’s doctorate in Middle Eastern history may sound a little provincial; however, John is anything but. Born in Montana, his family soon moved to China where his parents taught obstetrics. His first language was Cantonese and his childhood included time in a Japanese POW camp in Canton during WWII. By the time John considered retirement, he was living in the South of France, having trained cardiac surgical teams from Iceland to Israel and Russia to Portugal. What happened in between is a great story.
After the war, John and his folks returned to the USA, and he commenced with his schooling. While in college, John spent his summers working rodeos, caring for the livestock. He also worked as a life guard at Ghost Ranch near Santa Fe, which even afforded John an opportunity to meet Georgia O’Keeffe. While John was studying for his doctorate at the University of Utah, his pals in the medical arena were performing early artificial heart implants on cattle, and they found themselves in great need of John’s livestock husbandry skills for their post-operative patients. He began by taking the night shift, then managing post-operative care and eventually becoming a co-principal investigator on NIH research grants.
When John was about to leave for an academic position teaching Middle Eastern history in California, the University of Utah created an academic position for him so that he would stay. So although he was not a medical doctor, his new position was Research Assistant Professor of Surgery. It was this knowledge of post-surgical techniques as well as his doctorate in history that propelled John into a career of teaching worldwide.