Peter Jaron’s life was directed toward medicine at an early age when his father tragically died on the operating table during a routine gall bladder operation at the Mayo Clinic.
Upon graduation with his medical degree from the University of Manitoba, Dr Jaron chose to do a surgical residency at the Colonel Belcher Hospital in Calgary. After a few months he received a letter from the Department of Defence peremptorily ordering him to report for military service. He was appointed to the rank of lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps.
In 1941 he boarded the Queen Mary and with 5000 other troops sailed across a stormy Atlantic to England. On arrival he was posted to a military hospital and was attached to a surgical service. Over the next 5 years he attended thousands of injured and wounded, with every imaginable sort of clinical problem.
Early in 1946 Dr Jaron arrived back in Canada with the rank of major. He practised in Cranbrook, Stewart, the Yukon Territory, and Powell River, where he met his future wife, Shirley, a nurse. They lived in Britannia Beach for a year and then, in 1955, moved to Prince George. It was here that Peter established his medical practice and Shirley and Peter were to raise their family and spend the rest of their lives.
He was an old-fashioned doctor; he accepted responsibility for his patients’ health 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A telephone was by his bed and if it rang at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning for an emergency, it was answered by Dr Jaron, and his soft, calm manner eased the panic in the most frenetic household.
In 1962 I arrived in Prince George, gradually learning the finer points of surgery from Peter that I’d never heard of in 5 years of postgraduate specialty study.
In hospital he held various appointments. I remember him as the finest chief of medical staff I had ever known. Managing various doctors all importuning for their patients is akin to herding cats; his patience and diplomacy resulted in a time of relative calmness in medical affairs.
Time took its toll, health problems restricted his practice, heart problems cost him his cigars, infirmities of age cost him his driver’s licence. His singing stopped when Shirley passed away, and his time was spent over his beloved books and world events from television and newspaper.
Dr Jaron’s death was not unexpected by him nor was it unwelcome, but like St. Paul he fought the good fight, finished the course, and more; he maintained the highest standards in his profession for 50 years.
A physician may attain competency on the basis of technical proficiency but does not attain greatness without having a love for others. Behind Dr Jaron’s reserved manner was a depth of feeling toward others, and particularly for his wife, Shirley, and his children, Greg and Kirsten. Peter goes in peace, with the love of family and friends, the respect of colleagues, and the honor bestowed by a profession that has demanded so much over a lifetime of service.
—Eldon Lee, MD
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