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John Bethune

John Bethune

Born In: Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada
Born: March 23rd, 1927

Passed in: Northridge, California, United States
Passed on: September 4th, 2018

John E. Bethune, MD

John E. Bethune, MD, known to all as “Jack,” died peacefully on September 4 in Northridge, California. Born on March 23, 1927, in Berwick, Nova Scotia, where he grew up, Jack attended Acadia University, graduating in 1948 with a BA and a BSc in Chemistry. A year later, he married Margaret Bickerton of Berwick, to whom he remained devoted until her death in 2015. Descended from a long line of physicians on both sides of his family, he naturally gravitated to medicine, graduating from Dalhousie Medical School in 1953. After a residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, he took a two-year research fellowship at Harvard University & Peter Bent Brigham hospital in Boston in 1955, followed by a one-year fellowship at University College Hospital Medical School in London. He then served on the faculty of Dalhousie until 1961, when he accepted a position at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He and his family moved from Halifax to La Cañada, California, where he would live for the next 28 years. While on the USC faculty, he continued his prolific research in his specialty of endocrinology, authoring or co-authoring more than 60 clinical publications. In 1972 he was named chairman of the department of medicine at USC and chief of medicine at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, positions he held until 1988. An expert carpenter, Jack began construction in 1979 of what would become his retirement home on Lummi Island, Washington. Over the course of the next eight summer vacations, he laid the foundation, framed and finished the structure, and installed the plumbing and wiring largely by himself. In 1989, he retired from USC and moved to his now completed home with Margaret. In retirement, Jack became an avid boater, cruising the San Juan and Gulf Islands in his beloved 36-foot Grand Banks yacht, the Kipawo. He also turned to woodworking, building many pieces of furniture and several boats. Retirement also offered him the chance to devote more time to his lifelong love of photography. Inspired in his childhood by his mother, Edith Hallett Bethune, a prominent amateur photographer in the 1930s, he shot, developed, and printed his own large-format images, and studied with professionals including John Sexton, Bruce Barnbaum, and Ansel Adams. Jack was predeceased by his brother Roderick Bethune, and his sister Barberie Bethune, both of Berwick; his daughter Linnhe, of Thousand Oaks, California; and his wife Margaret. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, John Bethune and Cheryl Spector, of Northridge; and granddaughters Jessica Bethune and Miranda Bethune (Jeff Stanmyer), both of Boston. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no memorial service. Donations may be made in his memory to the Lummi Island Heritage Trust (liht.org), PO Box 158, Lummi Island, WA 98262, or to a charity of your choice.




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