John M. Knox, M.D.
(April 11, 1925 - February 28, 1987)
When John Knox died suddenly on the Hawaiian Island of Maui, Texas dermatologists lost one of their most gifted and compassionate leaders. For over thirty years Jack was not only a dynamic force for clinical and educational excellence in our profession, but also a forceful voice for our often timid collective conscience; he was not afraid to oppose what he thought to be wrong or to stand up for what he felt was right – and he was right more often than wrong. When Jack spoke, like E. F. Hutton, the room fell very quiet and we listened.
Most of us live out our lives near the intersection of “Prudence and Paranoia, preferring not to “disturb the universe.” John Knox was more courageous, and therefore more vulnerable. We will miss that courage, and his relentless honesty, even more than his numerous, well-documented contributions to dermatology. Jack was author or co-author of more than 300 publications. He served as president of the Houston Dermatological Society, the Texas Dermatological Society, the South Central Dermatologic Congress, the American Venereal Disease Association, and the American Board of Dermatology; he was chairman of the Council of the National Program for Dermatology and on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the American Dermatological Association. When he died suddenly, Jack was in Hawaii to be named President of the American Dermatological Association, an honor which was graciously awarded to him posthumously.
John Knox received a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University in 1946 and an M.D. from Baylor University College of Medicine in 1949. He received his dermatology training at the University of Michigan and became the first full-time Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. After retiring from Baylor, Jack continued his superb teaching as a Clinical Professor at Baylor, UTMB Galveston, and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. To his enormous pleasure, he was joined in the practice of dermatology by his son, J. Marshall Knox, II.
However, the measure of a man is not the list of his accomplishments but how he lived. John Knox was a decent man who loved his family and was fiercely loyal to his friends; his enemies should have chosen a different adversary. To me, he was teacher, friend, and valued counselor. If you ask me how I know that John Knox will be both missed and remembered and that his contributions to dermatology will be enduring ones, I can only say that I just know. In Jack’s own words, “A thumb is a thumb.”
John E. Wolf, Jr., M.D.
May 1, 1987
2021 Knox Lecture
Moise L. Levy, MD
DELL CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER
PROFESSOR, PEDIATRICS AND MEDICINE (DERMATOLOGY)
DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN
“A Thumb Is A Thumb”...except when it is not
Tales From An Older Pediatric Dermatologist