John Howard Yardley (Baltimore Sun )
Dr. John Howard "Jack" Yardley, former director of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who had also been associate dean for academic affairs, died Dec. 7 of a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
The longtime Roland Park resident was 85.
"For more than 50 years, John devoted his energies to research, patient care and teaching," Dr. Edward D. Miller, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, wrote in an email to his medical school colleagues.
"One of the founding fathers of the field of gastrointestinal pathology, he made groundbreaking observations on Whipple's disease of the gastrointestinal tract and helped define the current classification system for neoplastic dysplasia in the colon and esophagus."
The son of a Republic Steel Co. executive and a homemaker, Dr. Yardley was born in Columbia, S.C. Due to the nature of his father's work, he was raised in Greenville, N.C., Birmingham, Ala., Houston and Cleveland, where he graduated in 1944 from Western Reserve High School.
From 1944 to 1946, he served in the Navy as an electrician's mate.
He entered Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham in 1946, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry three years later. He earned his medical degree in 1953 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
From 1953 to 1954, he was an intern in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University Hospital, and returned to Baltimore in 1954, when he was named an assistant resident in pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
He was chief resident of pathology at Hopkins from 1957 to 1958, and had served as associate pathologist from 1954 to 1955.
"There were so many facets to Jack. He was an extraordinary educator and was a leader in medical education both on the national and international level," said Dr. Ralph H. Hruban, director of the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"He studied slides and took his time in making a diagnosis and often saw things others didn't. He loved the department and the university and those around him," said Dr. Hruban, who is also deputy director for programs and research in the pathology department at Hopkins. "He was an example to us all and made the department a much better place to work."
Dr. Hruban described his friend and colleague as a "Southern gentleman in the best sense of the word."
"He was soft-spoken and laid back and would put people at ease. He knew his facts and in conversation didn't try to dominate you. He'd kindly state the facts and would make substantial intellectual arguments," he said.
Dr. David Keren, who is clinical medical director of Warde Medical Laboratories in Ann Arbor, Mich., and clinical professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, was Dr. Yardley's first fellow.
"He was an incredible and amazing man. I was a resident at Hopkins from 1971 to 1975 and worked with him in many capacities during that time. Jack was always so supportive and such a unique character," said Dr. Keren.
"He had wonderful insight, a great sense of humor, compassion and was incredibly fair. And he taught us how to do these things," he said. "He also taught us how important it was to have laughter in the workplace and that we were to enjoy ourselves while doing our work."
Dr. Keren recalled his colleague as being a "patient teacher."
"Jack was so kind. His lectures were very clear. He took you through it so you understood pathology. He didn't talk at you, he gave you concepts and was always very supportive of his residents," he said.
In the 1960s, Dr. Yardley established the GI/Liver fellowship program to promote both research activities and the clinical training of talented pathologists who sought advanced training in gastrointestinal disease.
In 1999, the fellowship was endowed and named the John H. Yardley Fellowship in Gastrointestinal Pathology in recognition of his years of research and teaching at Hopkins.
Dr. Yardley was a prolific researcher and the author of more than 120 articles and case studies, as well as 20 book chapters.
He was co-author with B.C. Morson and M.R. Abell of "The Gastrointestinal Tract: International Academy of Pathology Monographs No. 18," published in 1977.
From 1988 until 1992, Dr. Yardley was Baxley Professor of Pathology and pathologist-in-chief with Dr. John K. Boitnott. He was associate dean for academic affairs from 1977 until 1984, and director of the pathology department from 1988 to 1992.
He retired in 2006.
The longtime Edgevale Road resident was an avid vegetable gardener whose annual harvest provided his family with vegetables that lasted through the winter, said his wife of 58 years, the former Eritha von der Goltz, whom he met when she worked in a lab at Hopkins.
The couple enjoyed sailing the Chesapeake Bay aboard their Mirror-Class Dinghy, a sloop that is rigged with two sails, which Dr. Yardley had built.
"We taught ourselves how to sail by reading a book. We did everything it told us to but the last thing: 'overturn the boat in the water and then right it.' That always seemed like too much trouble," said Mrs. Yardley, with a laugh, adding, "We never named it because we couldn't settle on a name."
Plans for a memorial service at Johns Hopkins Hospital were incomplete.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Yardley is survived by a son, William Sherborne Yardley of Madison, N.J.; two daughters, Madeleine Joy Arthur of Leicester, Mass., and Dr. Elizabeth Anne Boehme of Houston; a brother, Thomas K. Yardley of Birmingham; a sister, Elizabeth Cobb of Charlotte, N.C.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.