Webb remembers Distinguished Graduate John Flexner '44

Posted January 10, 2012


Dr. John Flexner '44, a Distinguished Graduate of The Webb School, passed away on December 27, 2011. He was 85. A service for Dr. Flexner was held Dec. 30 at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, Tenn. The family requests that memorial gifts be made to Alive Hospice of Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Flexner's sons Lindsey '73, Charles '74, and Morris '79 also attended Webb. He served as class agent to the class of 1944 and was a past member of The Webb School Alumni Board.

"He was really the guiding light of our class after we graduated," said Flexner's classmate Dr. Keith Campbell '44.

"He made all of the arrangements for our reunions and coordinated our class giving every year. He was a lot of fun in school and afterward. He will be missed."

Dr. Flexner was inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Society of The Webb School in April 2005 (click here for an article from the 2005 Webb Magazine). Originally from Louisville, KY, Flexner entered Webb as a sophomore and graduated in 1944. After two years in the Navy, he earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1950 and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1954. After residencies at at Vanderbilt University Hospital and Grace New Haven Hospital, Flexner pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the U.S.P.H.S. in the Division of Hematology. His medical practice centered on hematology.

Dr. Flexner enjoyed a lengthy career teaching and practicing medicine at Vanderbilt University. During his career he published more than 80 journal articles and wrote book chapters about death and dying, and management of pain. In 1975 Flexner co-founded Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN, today the oldest community-based hospice in Middle Tennessee.

In a 2011 story published in Vanderbilt Medicine, Flexner said of himself, “I’m an academician. I haven’t done any great research, but I’ve been a real good, caring, warm, loving physician. I’m loud and boisterous. I’m demanding. But this (Alive Hospice) was my contribution.”

Throughout his lifetime Dr. Flexner was a member of many honor societies and served many professional organizations, including Alpha Omega Alpha; the American Association of Cancer Education; American Society of Clinical Oncology; American Society of Hematology; Davidson County Medical Society; Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Society; Nashville Academy of Medicine; and Sigma Xi Fraternity, an honorary medical fraternity.

For a complete obituary, please click here.

For a related story from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, please click here.


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