John M. Loré, Jr., MD, FACS (1923-2004) was a legendary figure in the field of head and neck surgery. He will always be remembered as a great surgeon and one of the founding fathers of modern day education an
d training in head and neck surgery. He received many awards and lectured regularly throughout the world.
After graduating from Holy Cross College, he received his medical degree from New York University and went on to complete residency training in both Otolaryngology and General Surgery, following a path inspired by his father who had served as Chair of Otolaryngology at St. Vincent Medical Center in New York City.
In 1979, the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery and the Society for Head and Neck Surgeons formed the Joint Council for Advanced Training in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. Dr. Loré was appointed the Chair of this very important group, and he and Dr. Eugene N. Myers, who served as the Secretary of the Council at that time, site-visited many institutions which had applied for Joint Council approval of their fellowship training programs in head and neck surgery. This approval process was the foundation of the official Fellowship training program in head and neck surgery.
Jack, as he preferred to be called, distinguished himself as a pioneer and leader in head and neck surgery. He was one of the Founders of the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery. He was president of the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery in 1984 and became President of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons in 1986. Jack had long dreamed of a merger of these two societies, and the formation of the Joint Council certainly built bridges between these two groups. Jack brought tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the leadership of the Joint Training Council focusing on educating head and neck surgeons to excel beyond the mediocrity of what he referred to as the “dabblers” as he described those who treated the occasional head and neck cancer patient without an appropriate knowledge base and expertise. Those of us who worked with him heard the term used over and over again. There is no doubt that the efforts of the Council in nurturing the fellowship programs in head and neck surgery compelled dedicated members of both societies to function together in a meaningful way. This Joint Training Council continues to exist; constantly monitoring and adapting to meet the ever-changing needs for the education and training of the contemporary head and neck surgical oncologist.
Certainly one of Jack’s most important contributions to head and neck surgery was his Atlas of Head and Neck Surgery, which was first published in 1962. The book is now in the fourth edition. He dedicated the book to his father and in the Preface, Jack stated that “It is the intention, hope and aim of this Atlas of surgical techniques to lead to the eventual amalgamation of the two head and neck societies by unification of all who are interested in the field of surgical problems related to the head and neck.” Jack’s hopes and the pressure he brought to bear on both groups eventually resulted in the unification of the two societies as the American Head and Neck Society in 1998.
In addition to his professional activities, Jack spent his time in the company of his wonderful wife, Chalis. They had four children and four grandchildren. Jack loved to ski and managed to find time to ski all over the world. He also founded and operated Ski Tamarack, a ski resort outside of Buffalo. Although it was a public ski resort it opened its doors to inner city children to give them the opportunity to learn to ski and to experience life in the country.
Jack also loved sailing and owned a 40 foot sloop which he sailed regularly on Lake Erie. He was never happier than when he was out on his boat with family, good friends and colleagues. He often mentioned that this boat was the most tangible evidence of the success of the first edition of the Atlas of Head and Neck Surgery.
Jack also found time for a very serious spiritual life. He was a devout Catholic and was a Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He loved his association with the clergy and spent his most productive years as Chief of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, New York