J. Lawrence “Larry” Pool, neurosurgeon, was born Aug. 23, 1906 in New York City and was named for his ancestor, James Lawrence, a naval hero of the War of 1812. Pool came from a long line of physicians and his father, Eugene H. Pool (1874-1949), was a distinguished surgeon and a professor at the medical schools of both Columbia and Cornell.
Pool was educated at Harvard (A.B., 1928) and at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (M.D., 1932); he also received the Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia in 1941. After an internship at New York Hospital and a fellowship in neurophysiology at Harvard, Pool returned to the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center where he served as surgical intern (1934-36), neurosurgical resident (1936-38) and finally, chief neurosurgical resident (1938-39).
During World War II, Pool served as a neurosurgeon with the 9th Evacuation Hospital in Europe. He returned to Columbia in 1945 and in 1949 was named professor of neurological surgery and first chairman of the newly established Dept. of Neurological Surgery, a post he held until his retirement in 1972.
Pool developed several important surgical techniques, including the use of the microscope to operate on cerebral aneurysms and the development of the myeloscope in locating problems of the lower spine. With D. Gordon Potts he was co-author of Aneurysms and Arteriovenous Malfunctions of the Brain (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), a landmark work in the field. For his achievements, Pool became only the second American to receive the Medal of Honour of the World Federation of Neurological Societies (1985).
After his retirement, Pool and his wife, Angeline James Pool, moved to West Cornwall, CT, where he wrote several books on non-medical topics and pursued his interest in fishing and watercolor painting. He died May 4, 2004 in Canaan, CT, survived by his three sons.