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DAVISON, Dr. Joseph Surtees

February 9, 1942 – April 13, 2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Joseph (Joe) S. Davison who passed away peacefully, surrounded by love with his family at his side, following a brief but hard fought battle against an unexpected illness. Joe leaves behind his beloved wife and best friend of 48 years, Mary; along with his two children Sara (Rod) and Chris (Amanda); and four grandchildren Shae-Lynn, Joshua, Aidan and Ryan. He is also survived by his sister Mary.

Joe was born in Wallsend, Northumberland, England and attended the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he obtained his B.Sc. with Honours in 1965 and Ph.D. in Gastrointestinal Physiology in 1969. He was a scholar with a keen intellect and led a distinguished academic career with an international reputation for his work into the central and peripheral nervous regulation of gastrointestinal functions and immune responses. During his career he held academic appointments at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica; the University of Bristol, England; and the University of Dundee, Scotland. He came to Canada with his family in 1982 when he was recruited by the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine as a Professor and one of the first AHFMR Medical Scientists. He was a founding member of the Gastrointestinal Research Group and was also appointed to the Department of Physiology of which he was Department Head from 1988-1998, a period when the department, under his leadership, continued to prosper and grow.

Joe was a loving and dedicated husband, an amazing father and mentor, a proud grandfather, a brilliant researcher and an excellent teacher. He lived his life with generosity, integrity, kindness and respect. He was an excellent role model not only for his children and grandchildren, but for everyone whose path he crossed. He was passionate about his work, and had a genuine concern for his students; he was particularly satisfied by the successes of all the graduate students and postgraduates who trained in his lab under his mentorship. He loved adventure, travel, nature, the outdoors and outdoor pursuits. Joe was a gifted singer and musician whose talents were enjoyed by countless individuals over the years through his many performances both on stage and informal. Additionally, he was an active member of St. Luke’s Contemporary Choir where his music and beautiful voice made a difference and have inspired many. He will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues, friends and students. His passing leaves a hole that will be impossible to fill.

In memory of Joe, the Dr. Joseph S. Davison Memorial Award will be created at the University of Calgary to assist graduate students in the study of gastrointestinal physiology.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers at St. Luke’s Catholic Church (Corner of Northmount Drive & Northland Drive N.W.) on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Funeral Services and Tributes will be held at St. Luke’s Catholic Church (Corner of Northmount Drive & Northland Drive N.W.) on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the award fund and mailed to Linda Lepore, Fund Development Office, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1. Please make cheques payable to University of Calgary/Dr. Joseph S. Davison Memorial Award. For online donations please visit: https://netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/davisonaward. Thank you to all of the wonderful nurses, doctors and staff at Foothills Hospital, who cared for Joe with such compassion and dedication during his illness as well as the many friends and neighbours who provided so much support to him and his family over the last few months.

In living memory of Dr. Joseph Davison, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Richard Letourneau :

    Dear Mary

    I was so sad to hear of Joe’s sudden death. The last time I saw you & Joe was at Pat Martin’s retirement party; it was such a joy to have him as part of the entertainment that evening. He was a truly gifted musician and a wonderful singer but above all else he was a gentleman, in every sense of the word. Even though our paths crossed infrequently, I feel blessed to have known him.

    Even though I am unable to attend the memorial service, as I am living in Victoria, please know that my thoughts will indeed be with you and your loving family this Thursday morning.

    Please accept my most sincere sympathy.

    Big hugs,
    Richard

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  2. Denise Theunisen :

    Dear Mary, no words can say how sorry I am to hear of the passing of your husband Joe. I have met him together with you at several occasions and it was always a pleasure to see you together and also to hear him play. I am sorry I won’t be able to attend the funeral as I am away for a few weeks, but will call you when I get back in June,

    With deepest sympathy, Denise

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  3. Anjali Chugh :

    Mary and family: Accept my deep condolences on the loss of Joe. May memories shared bring you solace at this very difficult time in your lives. Know that those loved remain with you, always. Prayers are sent to you.
    Anjali

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  4. Eldon and Beryl Shaffer :

    Joe, a Georgie, first came to Calgary in 1981 to try us out. What a wonderful acquisition to have attracted this vibrant, articulate, accomplished scientist to a new (rather rudimentary) GI Research Group. Joe so capably spanned the link from basic science to clinical GI medicine. He even attended rounds in those early years! His focus and ability made possible our acquiring a major Crohn’s grant that was parlayed into attracting basic and clinical scientists to Calgary. Joe was an academic ally and a good friend. He cared about people, worked unstintingly with colleagues yet had a distinctively independent style.
    As important was his personal interaction with clinical scientists and young trainees both in physiology and clinical gastroenterology. Joe was an exemplary communicator and a caring mentor for many of us. His joie de vivre will be sadly missed.
    Mary – we will always be there for you, Sarah and Christopher.
    Eldon and Beryl

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  5. Jonathan Lytton :

    Dear Mary & family,
    I was a colleague of Joe’s in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Though I didn’t work that closely with Joe, we knew each other well enough to stop and chat in the hallways. He was a true gentleman and a man of great integrity. I know he made a big impact in our Faculty, on students, colleagues and research alike. He will be sorely missed.
    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
    with sincere sympathy,
    Jonathan

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  6. Rita Egizii and Greg Lucier :

    Mary, Sara & Chris. We are at a loss for words. Remembering 30+ years of memories — Xmas parties at your home, our kids growing up, sharing travel stories, sharing opinions, laughing, joking. Joe was a gentle tour de force. We will miss him tremendously. Know we are here for you — and reach out as friends who feel your loss deeply. Sending love, support and condolences. Greg Lucier & Rita Egizii.

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  7. Dear Mary,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am thinking of you in friendship and in sympathy.

    Love and hugs,
    Tina

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  8. Doug Demetrick :

    To Joe’s family: I was terribly saddened to hear of his passing. I have known Joe through the Faculty of Medicine since 1983, when I first started in Calgary as a medical student. My wife, Dr. Lydia Sikora, worked with Joe when we first arrived in Calgary. Even though I was working in a different lab, Lydia and I visited with Joe and his staff and trainees many times during the Med School TGIFs, enjoying the humour and camaraderie of an obviously close group of colleagues. I also remember Joe for his kindness to me when Lydia passed away in 1988.

    Unfortunately, our paths crossed much less after I started my clinical training, until I joined the Faculty in 1995. Though I worked in quite a different field of research, I enjoyed having a hallway chat with Joe whenever I saw him on my wanderings through the Health Science Center maze. Joe was always a good humoured, positive person and I enjoyed our conversations and Joe’s wise, and often amusing, perspectives.

    The Faculty of Medicine will be lessened by his passing! He was a great contributor to medical research and to the University of Calgary community and a considerate, true gentleman. We will all miss him. I am so sorry for your loss. Sincerely, Doug Demetrick

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  9. Laurie Kennedy :

    To all of Joe’s Family
    I met Joe in 1987 when I came to work as a research assistant in the GI reserch group for John Reynolds at U of C. He welcomed me into the group and from the first day of meeting him he always took the time to ask me how I was and willingly would discuss any topic that I brought up. Although I never knew him beyond the University borders I had a genuine respect for Joe as a decent caring person. He was such a friendly, kind,warm and sincere individual. After leaving the GI research group I continued to work at the university allowing me to see Joe in coffee line-ups, passing him in hallways or sitting across from him at meetings. He never forgot who I was and always took the time to say hello with a big smile. I too along with so many others will miss him. I wanted to share my memories of Joe with you and send my deepest sympathy to all of his family.

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  10. Conrad and Glennis Murphy :

    Hi Mary, Chris and Sarah

    Glennis and I wish to express our condolences to you and your families on the news of Joe’s death. I remember Joe as a lively fellow given to good humour. On those infrequent occasions when we saw him, he was always interested in our lives and what we were doing. Glennis goes to a doctor who was once won of Joe’s students and he always mentions what a fine instructor and colleague he was. I am sure that he will be missed by all who knew him.

    Our best wishes

    Conrad and Glennis Murphy

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  11. Michelle Gillespie :

    To Dr. Davison’s loved ones,

    I only worked very breifly with Joe on the ACC here at U of C, but always found him to be a truly kind and funny man. Best wishes in this sad time,

    Michelle Gillespie

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  12. Al-Shaimaa Ahmed :

    Please accept my condolence on the loss of Dr. Davison. He was a member in my PhD supervisory committee and I really learned alot from him.
    He will be missed.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Shaimaa

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  13. Tim and Gerry Held :

    Dear Mary and Family,

    Gerry and I are very sorry to hear of Joe’s passing and saddened with your loss; heartened only by the knowledge that you are surrounded by loving family and friends who will be there for you as you need them.

    With our deepest sympathies

    Tim and Gerry

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  14. Alan and Phil Cameron :

    Dear Mary and all the family

    We hadn’t heard of Joe’s illness so it was with great shock and deep sadness that we read your message. We are truly sorry.

    In 1985, as newlyweds arriving from ‘the old country’ to take up a 2 year Fellowship, we first met Joe at TGIF in Health Sciences. From there he welcomed us into your home and we enjoyed good nights with Chris and Sara around the dinner table. When we left Calgary in 1987, I was pregnant and said to Alan ‘I want our family to be just like Mary and Joe’s, warm, loving, chatty, and at ease with each other’. You were obviously an inspiration, not only to us, but to many.

    We shall remember Joe with great fondness and as a thoroughly decent guy who always greeted you with the warmest smile and who was genuinely interested in you and what you had to say.

    We send you comfort and pray for your peace, and hope that wonderful memories will ease the pain in your heart.

    May he rest in peace
    Phil and Alan Cameron

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  15. Zoria Rutherford :

    Mary and family,
    My deepest sympathy to you and your family – may your memories bring you strength, peace and comfort during this difficult time.

    Thinking of you,
    Zoria

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  16. Doris and Richard and Family :

    Dear Amanda, CJ and Ryan, and Mary and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you in this time sadness,
    Love, and God Bless,
    Auntie Doris Uncle Richard and Family

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  17. Lynn and Craig Connell :

    Mary,
    Craig and I were so sad to hear the news of Joe’s passing. I will miss running into the two of you at airports across the country on your various travels. We both enjoyed meeting Joe and hearing about his research which he was so passionate about. We are thinking of you and yours at this difficult time.
    Lynn and Craig

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  18. Audrey Warchol :

    Dear Mary and family,

    I was saddened to hear of the passing of your husband, father and grandfather. My sincere sympathy on your loss.
    May all your wonderful family memories give you strength and comfort at this time.

    Audrey

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  19. Maggie Stokes :

    Mary, I was saddened to hear of the passing of your husband Joe. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you grieve his loss. With deepest sympathy,
    Maggie (from Cranbrook,B.C.)

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  20. Dear Mary and family,
    I am so sorry to hear about Joe. He was important to many people, but especially as a husband, dad and grandpa to all of you. You are in my thoughts.
    I am out of town right now but maybe when I get back, Mary, we could connect.

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  21. Janet Cameron :

    Very sad to hear the news of Joe’s passing. I had the pleasure of getting to know him while working with him on the IRISS project. I had a genuine respect for Joe as he was a decent and caring man. Always friendly, always taking time to help wherever he could. I will remember him fondly as a man with great integrity and humanity.

    My deepest sympathy to all of his family.

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  22. Dear Mrs. Davison, and Sarah,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will be thinking of you during these difficult days.

    Sincerely,
    Lara Cooke

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  23. Ms. Dorothy King :

    I wish to express my deep sadness at the passing of your husband, father, grandfather and extraordinary medical provider at this time in your lives. May you know the peace of God in your hearts and that you are comforted knowing that he ran a good race and helped many in his life. He will very much missed in this life.

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  24. Dear Mary, Chris, Sara and family,
    Deepest sympathies on Joe’s passing. I was a new faculty member in 1988 when Joe became head of physiology. He was extremely supportive of not just students and trainees but also other faculty including the newbies. He was generous with his time, expertise and resources. A good man makes a better life for himself and his family. A great man makes a better life for the world. Joe was a good man. But he was also undeniably a great man. We shall all miss him immensely.

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  25. Debbie Bruckner :

    To Mary & family, my most sincere condolences on the passing of your husband, father and grandfather. My thoughts are with you during this difficult and emotional time. Joe’s research and his work with students is well respected and has had a significant impact on many lives.

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  26. Mary Hodges :

    To Mary and family,
    My husband and I arrived in Calgary the same year as you and I was fortunate enough to be given a job by Joe in my first year here. The job and his friendliness certainly made my first year a lot more settled than it might have been. One great memory is of Joe taking the lab people – plus my husband – on a cross skiing trip to Sunshine. It was a lovely day and epitomizes for me his positive attitiude to life. God bless as you adjust to this new stage of life.
    Mary

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