John “Jack” Pellock, renowned pediatric neurologist, dies at age 72

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John “Jack” Pellock, M.D., an internationally renowned pediatric neurologist and former professor and chair in the Division of Child Neurology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, died May 6. He was 72.

Pellock received his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1965 and his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1971. He started his pediatric residency at VCU Medical Center in 1973 and completed his fellowship training in child neurology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1976. In 1978, Pellock returned to Richmond and joined the VCU School of Medicine faculty. He served as chairman of the Division of Child Neurology for almost 20 years until retiring in 2014.

“Jack leaves VCU, the Department of Neurology, the Division of Child Neurology, and the fields of epilepsy and pediatric neurology with an enduring legacy that will live on in both his academic work and in the neurology residents, pediatric neurology fellows, pediatric residents and medical students with whom he shared his remarkable knowledge and wisdom,” said Scott A. Vota, D.O., interim chair, Department of Neurology and associate professor of neurology in the VCU School of Medicine. “He was an invaluable mentor and his life work and prodigious contributions will be appreciated by the international neurological community for years to come.”

During his career at VCU, Pellock participated in many federal and industry-supported research endeavors and published more than 200 journal article and 70 book chapters. He was principal investigator for more than 100 trials evaluating epilepsy treatments in children and adults, and was involved in antiepileptic drug development and studying epilepsy in children for more than 30 years. He was chief editor of “Pellock’s Pediatric Epilepsy: Diagnosis and Therapy,” which the American Epilepsy Society said is “widely considered the gold standard for diagnosis, treatment, classification and management of childhood epilepsies.”

In addition to his roles as professor and chairman of the Division of Neurology, Pellock served as the senior associate dean for professional education at the VCU School of Medicine and helped to develop and grow the continuing medical education programs throughout the health system.

“Jack was a champion of the health system, and more recently devoted his considerable talents to building our continuing medical education enterprise,” said Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine.

Pellock received multiple awards over the course of his career. In 2004 he received the J. Kiffin Penry Award for Excellence in Neurology from the American Epilepsy Society. More recently, in 2015 he was awarded the Champion of Epilepsy Award by the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the Hans Berger Lecture Award at the Hans Berger Symposium. That same year, the American Epilepsy Society launched the John M. Pellock Pediatric Travel Award to support early career investigators and recognize Pellock’s contributions to scholarship and mentorship.

John “Jack” Pellock, M.D.
John “Jack” Pellock, M.D.

A passionate and avid fan of VCU basketball for more than 38 years, Pellock enjoyed sports, traveling and spending time with his family. He was a beloved husband of his wife, Mary Pellock, for 46 years, as well as a father and grandfather.

Through the support of friends, colleagues, former students and residents, the John “Jack” Pellock Endowed Professorship in Pediatric Neurology has been developed to help continue the legacy of clinical care, teaching and scholarly work that he exemplified.

A visitation will be held at Bliley’s Funeral Home, 3801 Augusta Ave., on Friday, May 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Edward Catholic Church, 2700 Dolfield Dr., North Chesterfield, on Saturday, May 21, at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations in his honor to Massey Cancer Center and the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, Central Virginia Chapter.