Eason, John Charles Malcolm (1880–1976), businessman, was born 22 June 1880 in Dublin, the second of four children of a presbyterian couple, Charles Eason (1853–1941), businessman, and Anna Maria Selina Eason (née Thomson; d. 1929). The family lived at 10 Brighton Square South, Rathgar, Co. Dublin. John was educated at Strangways School, Dublin, and TCD, where he proved an outstanding student, graduating BA (1901). At TCD he was president (1901) of the Philosophical Society. On completing his formal education he joined the family business of Eason & Son, a large wholesale and retail stationer and newsagent. In 1916 he took charge of the wholesale news department, and from 1920 effectively took over control of the business from his father, opening up the management and shareholding of the firm; he became a director (to 1960), and later the company's managing director (1926–50) and chairman (to 1958).
As his business career advanced Eason became involved in many commercial and civic organisations. In 1920 he was awarded the OBE for his work as joint secretary of the war savings committee (1918), and he later served as president of the Dublin Mercantile Association (1922–3) and of the Dublin Master Printers’ Association (1923–4). An active member of the Dublin chamber of commerce (from 1918; president 1927), he made a scathing attack on Dublin city council at the 1924 government inquiry into its workings, and argued for the extension of the city's boundaries to embrace the townships of Pembroke and Rathmines (1927).
In 1925 Eason was an unsuccessful independent candidate in the seanad elections and in November 1931 was one of the signatories of a Cumann na nGaedheal circular encouraging former unionists to contribute funds to support the campaign to reelect Cumann na nGaedheal. Despite this political favouritism he served on government enquiries appointed by Cumann na nGaedheal and later Fianna Fáil: workmen's compensation (1925–6), bankruptcy (1927–30), and currency (September 1927 to September 1933), and the commission to investigate banking, credit, and currency (1934–8).
Eason's identification with the new state encouraged others in the Dublin protestant business community to be reconciled to it too. Keenly interested in social and economic issues, he was a council member of the Civics Institute and contributed thirteen papers (1925–45) to the Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland on subjects that included trade statistics, health insurance, full employment, and the 1933 census of distribution. The only businessman to play a prominent role in the society, he served as both its president (1930–34) and treasurer (from 1944).
Eason was the first honorary member of the Dublin chamber of commerce, and the first president (1943) of the Association of Chambers of Commerce in Ireland. Along with other prominent industrialists and businessmen of the period, he was a founder member of the Irish Management Institute on 9 December 1952 and sat on its first executive committee. In 1960 he was conferred with an honorary M.Comm. by TCD. He married, on 30 January 1908, Eliza Beck Douglas, one of the first female graduates and scholars of TCD. They had four daughters and lived at Elton Park, Sandycove, Co. Dublin. Eason died 28 September 1976 in Dublin.