W. John Judd, FIBMS, MBiol (1945-2021)

By Lynn McCain | December 16 2021

IW. John Juddt is with regret that we announce the passing of W. John Judd, former Professor of Immunohematology for the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan. Judd passed on December 1, 2021, at the age of 76, in his hometown of Supply (near Wilmington), North Carolina. He served in the Department of Pathology for 34 years.

Judd’s training was in medical laboratory technology, which was obtained in Britain.  There, he achieved national recognition as a superb blood group serologist. Judd relocated to the United States and, in 1974, joined the Department of Pathology as a Research Associate II. In 1977, he was promoted to Assistant Professor of Medical Technology and Director of the Blood Bank Reference Laboratory, which at the time was one of the few transfusion service reference laboratories in the country that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks.  In 1982, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Medical Technology and when the Medical Technology Program was discontinued, he was appointed Associate Professor of Immunohematology. Dr. Henry Appelman wrote of Judd when he was being considered for promotion to Professor, “John Judd is clearly one of the international stars in blood banking. His research, educational and service expertise covers the analysis and evaluation of blood group substances and antibodies; virtually every aspect of blood bank testing, and all of the immunological and technical problems that occur in blood banks in general.” With the support of Appelman and Chair Peter Ward, in 1990, Judd was promoted to Professor of Pathology. This was an exceptional statement of his status in the field as Judd did not hold an advanced degree.  

Judd made significant, worldwide contributions to the field of immunohematology, especially through providing data to support streamlining of blood bank testing practices, and presented numerous educational programs throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia.  Dr. Cyril Levene, Director of the Reference Laboratory for Immunohematology and Blood Groups in Jerusalem, Israel, commented on Judd in 1990, “I know John Judd as a wonderful colleague and collaborator, and I know that many of his colleagues would agree with me on this count. There have been numerous occasions when we have needed help and advice on specimens from difficult cases and he has always given all of the assistance he could.”

Throughout his tenure, Judd was an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) and served on their board of directors from 1989-1993. Judd authored more than 100 scientific articles and chapters in textbooks, the AABB practice guidelines on Prenatal/Perinatal Immunohematology, and a textbook Methods in Immunohematology.  He took great pleasure in teaching residents and fellows and was well-liked by his trainees. In 2001, he was appointed to the GME Ethics Committee and worked closely with our educational programs to ensure ethics was part of the training for house officers.

His service was recognized by being named the Ivor Dunsford Memorial Award and John Elliot award recipient. He was also an active member and past president of the Michigan Association of Blood Banks (MABB) and served on the editorial board for the Transfusion journal.