Pierre Pascal Massion

March 28, 1963April 4, 2021

Pierre was born on March 28, 1963 in Brussels, Belgium, from the love of Claire Capron and Jacques Massion, his proud parents. He grew up happily in the Brussels district of Stockel, avenue des jockeys 13, the third of five children including his two older sisters Anne and Brigitte, followed by his sister Catherine and brother Paul. An impressive baby, strong and smiling boy, Pierre soon developed an incredible sense of humor and an affinity for sports. Pierre was both a force of nature and a lover of nature, with his heart in the mountains. He had peaceful and humanitarian qualities, sensitive to the social injustices in our world. He became involved with Amnesty International fighting for human rights in his high school years and went on a transformative trip to Rwanda that shaped his desire to lend a medical hand to all walks of life.

With a scientific mind and dedication to helping people, he began medical school in 1980 at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels. A hard worker, bright, enthusiastic and caring medical student, he was president of the medical students association. He earned his Doctor of Medicine with the highest distinction in 1987. He specialized in Internal Medicine and developed a passion for pulmonology under his mentors Drs. Stanescu and Sybille. In 1991, he took advantage of an opportunity to expand his pulmonary research interests at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with Dr. Nadel, that was initially intended to last no more than a year. However, this experience would change his life forever.

Invited by a mutual friend, he attended a dinner party where he immediately fell for the Love of his life, Tebeb. They were married a couple years after they met. Tebeb and Pierre welcomed their three wonderful sons Samuel, Thomas and Elias in San Francisco prior to moving to Nashville in 2000. Pierre worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, caring for his patients, particularly the Veterans at the VA hospital. He dedicated himself to advancing research in early detection of lung cancer, while weaving in his clinical work, teaching, and mentoring (

Pierre and his family attended Holy Family Catholic Church. He gave his time generously volunteering at mission trips, Shade Tree and Siloam clinics, and Room at the Inn. Pierre loved hiking, running, gardening, soccer-coaching, tennis, and, most especially, skiing. Enthralled by the beauty of nature, the outdoors and sports invigorated him with a fearless sense of adventure and sheer joy. In every stage of his life, he was committed to nurturing his lifelong friendships.

When Pierre and Tebeb wed in San Francisco, CA, in July 1993, they bridged together two completely different worlds, setting the stage for a unique and enriching cultural exchange between their Belgian and Ethiopian families. Less than two weeks before his passing, he celebrated his 58th birthday. Last summer, Pierre and Tebeb celebrated 27 blessed and tremendously cherished years of marriage.

Above all, Pierre was endlessly devoted to his family. Although Pierre has passed away, his abundant love and gift of making everyone feel that they are heard will stay with us forever.

As Pierre would say: God is Love.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends

    Monday, April 12, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Monday, April 12, 2021


Pierre Pascal Massion

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michael Cerulus

April 19, 2021

Dear Massion family,

We are so sorry for your loss. We were shocked to hear of Pierre's passing.

We had the pleasure to meet him two years ago when he came to the Belgian Consulate in Atlanta with his sons. We will remember him as a charming and kind person. Pierre was also quite a renowned Belgian citizen in the South of the U.S., through his work and his philanthropic activities.

We wish you a lot of strength in this most difficult time, and we express our most sincere condolences.


Michael Cerulus
Belgian Consulate in Atlanta

Jutta Riederer von Paar (née Massion)

April 19, 2021

Dear Tebeb, dear Samuel, Thomas and Elias,
Only yesterday we heared of Pierres sudden death. Deeply shocked and very sad we feel with you and hope that God can give you strength and hope to manage in these difficult hours.
Even though I have not seen Pierre for so many years and have unfortunately never met you I have always been very fond of my Belgian cousin and keep the memories of him deep in my heart.
He had the warmest smile, most sparkling eyes and was so open hearted and always positively interested.
My thoughts are with you and Claire and Jacques.

Kelly Willenberg

April 18, 2021

I worked with Dr. Massion at Vanderbilt for over ten years. A kind soul who cared for patients with warmth and gentleness, I knew he loved what he did every day. His dedication to the profession was admirable. May the memories of his beautiful life lift his family up through their grief and grant them God’s peace.

Ron Walker

April 17, 2021

Thank you, Paul, for your post of 15-04-2021. Your post meant a lot to me, as a brother of Pierre.

My heart is broken in ways that I cannot describe. I grieve every day. I loved Pierre as a brother, as well as a friend, and I believe he loved me the same.

Not only were we brothers in the fight against lung cancer, but also we were brothers (along with sisters) fighting against pain and suffering of our patients for any reason.

We were also brothers because of our kindred spirits in the love of God and man. This is what truly bound us together, and what, for all eternity, forever, gives me my hope not only of heaven, but also my faith that I will one day see, not only Pierre, but also our Lord, Jesus, in all of the full glory that they deserve!

I wish we could have had more time with Pierre, as does everyone.

Your brother in God's family, the Family of Christ,

Ron & Jeanne Walker
North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Brigitte Massion

April 16, 2021

J'ai si mal à ma fratrie sans mon frère, Pierre, t'ai-je assez dit combien je t'aimais, on a le cœur tout déchiré depuis que tu nous as quittés, Pierre, mais quelle idée de nous laisser là sans toi, les larmes ont beau couler sur mes joues, je cherche ton visage et je pleure, je n'entends plus ta voix et j'ai peur que quelque chose en moi soit mort déjà ...

Brigitte 06 avril 21

Shayan Mahapatra

April 15, 2021

My deepest consolation goes out to all those who loved Pierre. Our hearts are heavy because a true soul has left this earth.

Dr. Massion was the reason for my passion for Lung nodule when I got my first job as post-doctoral research with him He was my reason for loving research. I was amazed by his passion for lung cancer field and above all his humanity, fun-loving despite being multitasking and being captain of the ship. He gave me a job I loved with people I enjoyed working with. I owe my residency success to him, who constantly motivated me and prepared me for this demanding job while doing research. He wrote my letter(s) of recommendation. He always supported my dreams and I was so blessed to have worked for him. I’ll miss the emails and the texts asking me how I’m doing &, how residency is treating you, be strong, intern year is tough, you will definitely fly through this in no time. He was one of the kindest, most devoted, most awe-inspiring humans I’ve ever met. Vanderbilt always felt like home because of Pierre. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart .... thank you. You will truly be missed. Gone but never forgotten. I would like to let the world know that it is because Pierre's motivation, pulmonary and critical medicine has forever indebted to me and cemented my vision for early diagnosis of lung cancer.

To his family,
God bless you and you will be in my prayers 🙏🏽 .


Paul Massion

April 15, 2021

Dear Pierre,
My much loved big brother,

How can I express how much you loved me?
How much time you took for me, to play soccer in the garden, tennis against the wall, ping-pong in the cellar, to climb the mountains, to sing together on the paths, to make me laugh until I lost my breath?
How many times have you listened to me, deep inside, secretly sharing my pain, and helped me find the way?

You loved so many things, Pierre, of course chocolate and jokes, flowers and birds, sports and mountains, science and discovery
But most of all, you loved people,
You were not only my big brother, but the big brother of so many people
You loved your friends, your family,
You loved Tebeb, the Love of your life.
You loved Samuel, Thomas and Elias, even more than your own life.

Pierre, you were like a beautiful shade tree, on top of a hill, looking up at the sky, full of perfumed flowers, colorful birds and nests,
A tree that always welcomes the walkers who cross its path, taking care of them, protecting them from the burning sun, joking with them, offering them to rest in peace for a while...
A tree that makes children swing on its branches, climb, see further, and learn to listen to the wind in the leaves, and to recognize the stars in the night.

Suddenly, on Easter day, a lightning fell on the tree, and the indestructible shade tree fell.
Why, Pierre? Our hearts are broken
Where are you now, Pierre? Our eyes are drowned.

But as you fell, all the birds flew away, and all your seeds were blown away, and sown over the hill, over the mountain, across the river, across the ocean.
And your seeds, Pierre, were seeds of love
One of them grows deep in my heart, and gently says to me:
“Paul, do you remember how to listen to the wind, and how to look at the sky?
It's me, I'm here, by your side, I'll be with you, forever, as an angel, your little star. »

Luc Barras

April 13, 2021

C’est avec stupéfaction et une immense tristesse que nous avons appris le décès de Pierre, cher Pierre… !
Nous avons du mal à réaliser… Même en étant si loin, il était si vivant dans nos têtes. Il était un rayon de soleil par son sourire omniprésent et restera un rayon de soleil pour tous ceux qui l’ont connu.
Nous avons eu la chance de le rencontrer sur les bancs de la faculté de médecine, de partager entre-autres un blocus à la Mer du Nord, de le suivre dans sa quête de nouveaux horizons (Rwanda puis USA).
Nous garderons de lui son sourire communicatif, son empathie et son amour de la vie et du partage.
Nous avons une pensée toute particulière pour Tebeb et ses trois enfants, Samuel, Thomas et Elias, que nous avions rencontrés chez nous un été dans le sud de la France.
Nous n’oublions pas Jacques et Claire, ses parents, ainsi que Catherine, Brigitte, Anne et Paul pour qui nous avons également une pensée émue.
Nous vous remercions d’avoir pensé à ceux qui ne pouvaient être présents physiquement aux très belles cérémonies que vous avez organisées en mémoire de Pierre et de nous avoir permis d’y assister en ligne. Les hommages à Pierre nous ont beaucoup touchés.
Nous vous adressons tous nos sentiments d’amitié et de réconfort ! Nous sommes de tout cœur avec vous !
Luc et Dominique Barras

Anita Pitts

April 12, 2021

My deepest condolences go out to all those who loved Pierre. Our hearts are heavy because a true light has left this earth.

Dr. Massion gave me my first full time job working in his lab. He was my reason for loving research. My first real patient experiences that showed me the passionate type of doctor I wanted to be someday. He gave me a job I loved with people I enjoyed working with. He allowed me to come and work whenever I wasn’t in dental school. I truly would not be half the doctor I am today had it not been for Pierre. He wrote my letter(s) of recommendation. He always supported my dreams and I was so blessed to have worked for him for all these years. I’ll miss the emails and the texts asking me how I’m doing &, of course, if I am going to come work in the lab this summer. Or the “hey I have a project I’d like your help with” :) haha... He was one of the kindest, most devoted, most awe inspiring humans I’ve ever met. Vanderbilt always felt like home because of Pierre. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart .... thank you. You will truly be missed. Gone but never forgotten.

To his family,
God bless you and you will be in my prayers 🙏🏽 .


Alain Mandy

April 12, 2021

Dear Tebeb, Samuel, Thomas and Elias,
Chers Claire et Jacques

It is with great sadness that I learned about the passing of cousin Pierre, and it came as a shock from us, here in London.

He was too young to leave us but he leaves a lot of souvenirs and he will stay alive in our memories and smiles. I can still see his beautiful smile.

He was a great and warm cousin and family was important for him. I remember all those Massion’s family event, celebration in Hamme-Mille around the tennis and Pierre was always so much present.

I also recalled when he came with the Mandy’s family at a ski trip in Grachen (Switzerland) at the “Bonne-maman Massion’s chalet”. That was a long time ago but I recalled the good atmosphere and how skiing was so important for him.

I spent a few years working in Chicago and we spoke a few time on the phone at that time, I never made it to Nashville but it was always great communicating with him.

Pierre made a difference in the world and left him better than when he came. That is the most important

Wishing you all the comfort and peace in such tough times

Alain, Eloisa, Martina & Sophia Mandy