Designatory Letters: 
MA Camb 1949, MB Camb 1949, MD Camb 1957, ScD Camb 1967, FRCPath 1973, FRCP Edin 1994

(Contributed by Professor Dugald Gardner)

Professor Geoffrey Austin Gresham who died on July 24th 2009 was widely admired for his enthusiastic and skilled undergraduate teaching of pathological anatomy and histopathology. He was a masterly diagnostic and forensic pathologist and a shrewd scientist. His success as a teacher rested in part on his insistence on matters of detail and his humorous rejection of ill-informed authority. Austin Gresham will be greatly missed not only by his many colleagues but by his numerous friends among whom his kindness and generosity were mingled with acerbic wit.

Austin Gresham was born on November 1st 1924. Educated at Grove Park School, Wrexham, he was accepted at Caius College Cambridge as a Tancred Scholar before moving to King’s College Hospital, London. He graduated MA, MB BChir Cambridge in 1949, advancing to MD in 1957, ScD (Cantab) in 1967. In 1963 he became a founder Member of the College (subsequently the Royal College) of Pathologists and a Fellow in 1973. He was elected FRCPEd in 1994. A Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge where he was Director of Medical Studies, he was later honoured by the College Presidency.

A protégé of the late Professor HR Dean and a close associate of the late Dr. A.M. Barrett, Austin Gresham was appointed Professor of Morbid Anatomy and Histology of the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant Pathologist to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He was Home Office Pathologist to East Anglia, Lieutenant Colonel RAMC(V) and a Consultant member of the Cambridge District Management Team of the Health Authority. He became Emeritus Professor in 1992 and an Honorary Fellow of Caius College on October 1st 2001.

The author of nearly 200 original papers, Professor Gresham’s scientific interests centred on atherosclerosis a field in which his studies of non-human primates attracted particular admiration. But his concerns ranged widely – from collaboration with Francis Crick in the field of DNA to an exceptional knowledge of fungal disease. His role as Home Office Pathologist led to papers in forensic medicine while his books, including a Color Atlas of Forensic Pathology, an Atlas of Male Reproductive Pathology, a Color Atlas of Histopathology and A Color Atlas of General Pathology, were directed especially towards graduate education.

In 1988, Professor Gresham achieved international recognition for the expert part he played in resolving the mysterious death in Kenya of a young British woman, Julie Ann Ward, on whose father’s behalf he was twice called to Africa to give evidence.