Obituary: Joan Merigan, pediatrician for 51 years


Dr. Joan M. Merigan of Portola Valley, who recently retired from her 51-year career as a pediatrician, died Jan. 27 after a short battle with adenocarcinoma of the lung. She was 78.

Her last practice was at the Santa Clara Pediatric Clinic in Santa Clara, where she had served since 1987.

Born in Oakland, she moved to Lake County in her later childhood years. She graduated cum laude from UC Berkeley, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She completed medical school and a pediatric internship at the University of California at San Francisco. Following a pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital in Boston, she trained another year at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

A lifelong member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she worked at Group Health Inc. in the Washington area before moving back to the Bay Area in 1963. She practiced at the Palo Alto Clinic for nine years and, from 1973 to 1978, worked at the Stanford Children's Oncology Clinic.

Dr. Merigan and her husband, Dr. Thomas C. Merigan, endowed a chair to the Stanford School of Medicine in 2008.

Dr. Merigan was a classical pianist. She performed before many groups, including her 50th medical school reunion.

For the past 37 years, she lived in Portola Valley, where she pursued her other passion, gardening, say family members. She also enjoyed world travel with her family, attending the San Francisco Symphony and Opera, sailing on the Bay, weekends at Pajaro Dunes, theater, movies, and good friends, they say.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Thomas C. Merigan, a retired Stanford Medical School professor; son Thomas C. Merigan 3rd of Campbell; and her brother, Judge Richard Freeborn of Clearlake.

A private celebration of her life will be held. The family prefers contributions in her name to a favorite animal welfare organization.

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