John Redmond III
John Redmond III MD, born July 21, 1944, died April 10, 2023, at home, of prostate cancer, surrounded by family. Son of John and Sara Lee (Davis) Redmond jr., beloved husband of Mary Rachel Faris MD, stepfather to Faris V. Carter (Andrea) and James H. Faris (Kelly Forst). Grandfather to Ryan and Addison Carter. Brother of Diane (Erich) Kaufman.
John was raised throughout the U.S. and in Germany as the son of a US Army Medical Corps officer who encouraged him to be tough, work hard and learn everything he could about the subject he was studying. He was an Eagle Scout at 13. He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1966, having formed a wonderful group of lifelong friends who admired him for his intellect and his irreverent sense of humor. After, he completed Army Ranger and Airborne training. As this was the period of the Cold War, he was then assigned to an armor unit in Gelnhausen, Germany as a tank platoon commander. They were positioned in the Fulda gap to observe and report on the Russian buildup in East Germany. It was here in a beer tent, on the advice of a family friend, that he decided to pursue becoming a physician. After Gelnhausen and some military intelligence training he went to Vietnam as a Military Intelligence officer. Once home he completed pre-med courses at Georgia Tech University, then medical school at Emory University. His post-graduate training was done in the Army at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center and hematology-oncology fellowship at Letterman Army Medical Center. He was a staff member at Letterman for one year, which was when he met his future wife, Mary Rachel, who was a new fellow in the training program. He moved to Madigan Army Medical Center in 1983 as the chief of internal medicine and internal medicine residency director, which he found challenging and exhilarating because of the brilliance of the residency classes he trained. After four years he transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center as the chief of the hematology-oncology service and Consultant to the Surgeon General. He loved being at Walter Reed and told many stories of notable figures he cared for and presidents he met, especially on the VIP ward. He retired from the army in 1990. While a physician in the army he was awarded an Order of Military Medical Merit Award, a Meritorious Service Medal, a Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and an award for outstanding teacher at Walter Reed.
He joined the staff of Abington Memorial Hospital (now Abington-Jefferson Health) in 1990 as the chief of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Rosenfeld Cancer Center. There he built a comprehensive cancer program, developing numerous oncology tumor boards and teaching conferences. He took great care of many, many patients and was always available for informal discussions with colleagues about difficult cases. The program was evaluated and granted certificates of Excellence with Distinction by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer on several occasions. He and his wife, Mary Rachel, found one another again and married in May 1998. They built a life together with her children, Faris and Jamie, and practiced side by side until his retirement in 2015. They traveled extensively on vacations, biking on many occasions in Europe.
He was beloved by colleagues, staff, and patients. He imbued the center with camaraderie and personal responsibility while fostering a sense of family, making the program highly functional and successful. His military training was always evident, and two of his favorite expressions were “No bawling!” and “Work with me, people!” At Abington he was awarded the Trustees Distinguished Service Award and Physician of the Year. He retired in 2015.
in addition to his interest in medicine he was an avid student of history and a voluminous reader. Often at the center of discussion about current events, military history, American history, ancient history, and all points between he was seldom wrong but never in doubt. He was considered a resource and a raconteur by colleagues and friends. His keen focus, sharp wit and colorful metaphors helped hold his audience’s attention and drive home his point. After retiring he wrote a satiric novel about life on an army base in Vietnam, drawing a wide cast of archetypal characters while making salient points about the difficulty and hubris of waging the Vietnam War. He was pleased with his book but modest. Friends who read it learned a lot about the Vietnam war. He self-published and often joked “Fewer than 1,000,000 copies have sold.”
His other great passion was the outdoors. Throughout his life he hiked, backpacked, skied and cycled, all to the fullest extent he could and with single-minded purpose. He enjoyed many long distance cycling trips through Oregon, Maine and Europe and knew all the back roads in Bucks County like the back of his hand. Later in life he embraced fly-fishing, spending many blissful days fishing at his club in the Poconos, Bright Creek, and in Montana. He introduced many of his friends to the art of fly-fishing at Bright Creek. He knew well the adage that fly-fishing is 10% being in the stream and 90% dreaming about it.
John loved his life. All who knew him were impacted by his ebullient nature and larger than life personality. Over time his stories changed, with snowpacks being deeper, animals and other threats being larger and caught fish being longer. He will be missed. We like to imagine him now having ridden his bike to a beautiful river in the mountains, casting a perfect fly into a nearby pool, and landing a huge rainbow trout.
RelativesRelatives and friends are invited to John’s Memorial Service Thursday 4/20, 11am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 E Chestnut Hill Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118. Interment St. Paul’s Memorial Garden. In lieu of flowers contributions in John’s name may be made to Pennypack Ecological Trust 2955 Edge Hill Road,, Huntingdon Valley, PA. 19006 or Abington Health Foundation / Asplundh Cancer Pavilion, 1200 Old York Rd., Abington, PA 19001.