As a child growing up in a small town in northern Ontario, it would be hard to imagine being on the world stage in any field of endeavor. However, with the combination of raw talent, opportunity, and a Herculean work ethic, dreams can be achieved. Such was the case with David J. Grignon, MD, a dear colleague and friend, who tragically lost a short battle with aggressive pancreatic cancer on January 28, 2020. During his career, David rose to the highest ranks of urologic pathology and was recognized as a world-class leader in this field.

Following high school in Haileybury, David attended the University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) where he received undergraduate degrees in science and medicine (1981). After a residency in anatomical pathology in London and a fellowship in surgical pathology at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, Texas), David returned to University of Western Ontario as an assistant professor. He moved to Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan) in 1992 and within 8 years rose to become professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology. In 2007, David moved to Indiana University (Indianapolis) where he was the centennial professor and vice-chair for clinical programs until the time of his death.

David's contributions to academic surgical pathology are large and multifaceted involving service, teaching, research, and administration. Dr Grignon was a sought-after consultant, brilliant educator, and prolific researcher especially in the clinical trials arena. For many years David was the principal urologic pathology reviewer for the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. The metrics on his curriculum vitae are impressive with more than 370 peer-reviewed papers, more than 350 published abstracts, 6 textbooks including 2 Armed Forces Institute of Pathology fascicles, numerous book chapters, and guidance documents. He was a major contributor to the series 3 and 4 World Health Organization “Blue Books,” International Association of Urological Pathology (ISUP) consensus conferences, and International Collaboration of Cancer Reporting data sets. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, David was awarded the Koss Medal of the ISUP in 2016 for career-level contributions to urologic pathology. David would not back away from an administrative challenge as attested to by his willingness to lead the ISUP as president (2018–2019) during a tumultuous time.

Without question David's academic passion was education and he made a huge impact on the lives of medical students, residents, and fellows in pathology, urology, and oncology by his willingness to go the extra yard in teaching. This educational mission extended to the continuing education field and is evidenced by more than 150 courses and slide seminars and more than 200 invited lectures on 6 continents. David was a gifted speaker who was able to explain the most difficult nuances of surgical pathology in a clear and understandable way. His collection of images in urologic pathology was second to none. Throughout his career, David received numerous accolades and teaching awards. In recognition of his outstanding educational contributions, the ISUP has established an eponymous award in his honor.

David J. Grignon, MD

I would be remiss by not mentioning David's personal qualities. He was altruistic, thoughtful, kind, inclusive, and fair in dealings with others. He had diverse interests beyond medicine including reading, old-school Hollywood movies, classic rock on vinyl, travel, food, and wine. David was a devoted family man who was married to Laurie, his high-school sweetheart for 40 years. He was a wonderful role model for his 2 sons, Robert (Megan), who is a lawyer in New Zealand, and Mark (Blanca), a businessman in Nevada.

David Grignon lived his life fully with enthusiasm, optimism, and zeal. David was unquestionably a giant in modern urologic pathology who touched many students and colleagues throughout the world with his writings, lectures, and courses. He will be dearly missed by colleagues, friends, and family alike. In achieving his dream, David made a lasting contribution to medicine and pathology and in doing so, made the world a better place.

Note added in proof: On January 26, 2021, a healthy baby boy named David John Grignon II came into the world, an event that would have made his grandfather proud and happy.

Author notes

The author has no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.