In Memoriam: Dr. John Mason

LONG-TIME PROFESSOR of nutrition, John Beverly Mason, passed away August 28, at the age of 74, after bravely battling cancer over the last eight years.

John Beverly Mason, professor of nutrition

Mason was born in Welwyn, England, in 1944, and earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Magdalene College and his doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. His career prior to Tulane included child health and nutrition research, surveillance, and planning with the Medical Research Council, the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Cornell University, and UNICEF. His work made an impact throughout Africa.

In 1986 he became technical secretary of the United Nations coordinating committee on nutrition, where he initiated, researched, and published annual World Nutrition Reports, as well as the Refugee Nutrition Information System reports.

Mason joined the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 1996 where, for the last two decades, he taught various advanced courses on public nutrition. He retired in January 2018 as an emeritus professor. Across the five decades of his illustrious career he published many hundreds of book chapters and scientific articles, mostly focused on: nutrition policy development; approaches to sustaining community-based programs for nutrition improvement; and on micronutrient deficiencies in terms of epidemiology and prevention.

His students (of which there were many) remember his devotion to their studies, to the plight of malnourished children around the world, and his annual Halloween parties at his house in New Orleans.

His hobbies included painting, especially water colours, which he created hundreds of over the course of his lifetime. He also enjoyed throwing pots on the wheel, photoshop photography, and occasionally writing sci-fi (his latest screenplay Viral describes an internet becoming sentient). His friends and colleagues knew that John Mason knew how to live and enjoyed life immensely. He leaves behind his wife Karen, daughters Christina and Alex and sons Michael and Simon, as well as a sister and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in New Orleans at a later time.

See the full text of this remembrance from the World Nutrition Journal at

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