John Alexander Lusk III ’43

John Alexander Lusk III ’43, of Greensboro, N.C., died peacefully on June 9 surrounded by his family. He was 87 years young and lived a very full and giving life. Lusk was born April 9, 1923, in Gadsden, Ala., the elder son of John Alexander Lusk, Jr. and Sarah Bellenger Lusk. He entered Davidson as a member of the Class of 1944. He accelerated his studies in order to graduate early and serve his country in WWII. He earned degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Davidson in 1943. Within days of graduation, he joined the U.S. Army. He was assigned to Italy and participated in the invasion of southern France. After sustaining wounds that prevented him from returning to combat, he joined the Military Police Battalion in France. For his service he received the Combat Infantry Badge, as well as the Purple Heart. After returning to the U.S. in the summer of 1946, Lusk earned his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Alabama in Birmingham in 1951. In 1958 he met his future wife, Barbara Angele, who was finishing her postgraduate degree in medical technology. Lusk moved to Greensboro in 1958, opening an internal medicine practice with his brother, Walter. As he completed his hematology fellowship, the new specialty of oncology was added to his training. He introduced these specialties to the Greensboro medical community. Soon after his practice was set up, he became a clinical associate with Dr. Wayne Rundles, chief of hematology and oncology at Duke University. He earned his fellowship in the American College of Physicians in 1972. He served as chairman of the pharmacy committee at Moses H. Cone Hospital for 25 years, at which time he was elected chief of medicine at Cone Hospital, serving until 1992. He spent the first 36 years of his career serving Greensboro as a hematologist/oncologist and was one of the first physicians to recognize the need for hospice (end-of-life) care. He went on to become a founding board member of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro and was the first physician in the community to make a patient referral to Hospice. Lusk retired for two weeks in 1993. For the next 17 years, he served with HPCG as the first medical director and then as medical director emeritus. In 1998 he became certified as one of the first Hospice and Palliative Medicine specialists in North Carolina. At the time of his death, he and Barbara co-chaired the 2010 HPCG Annual Campaign. Lusk was very proactive in medicine, which was recognized by numerous honors, awards, and leadership roles on local, state, and national levels. A few of Lusk’s honors include the Sword of Hope from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the St. George’s Medal from the ACS, Physician Laureate award from the N.C. chapter of the American College of Physicians, and the Spirit of Hospice Award from HPCG. He was also was on the cutting edge of medicine, as well as technology, helping to establish a computer system at Moses H. Cone Hospital. When praise was given of his determination and dedication, his reply would be: “That’s just what you do. Give your best.” He was always quick to note that Greensboro has given him many opportunities and that it was natural to give back to the community. Lusk is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara Angele Lusk, 3113 Northampton Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408-5220; their two children, John Alexander Lusk IV ’83 and Elizabeth Lee Lusk ’85; his brother, Walter Coles Lusk II (Nancy McKelvey Lusk); two grandchildren, Conrad and Albert Lusk; and many loved family members and close friends. Memorials may be made to the Lusk Family Scholarship at Davidson College, Box 7174, Davidson, NC 28035.