Obituaries

Josephine BarnesAlan Humphrey BarkerVictor Meir DellalHock Hoo EeJohn Rushworth HoldenCharles Cotton KennedyGeorge KrasnerGeorge Kenneth LaxtonJames Brian Bonella RiddellMichael Edward SnellNualla Briggs (née Sommerville)

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7230.317 (Published 29 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:317

Josephine Barnes


Embedded Image

(Credit: NICK SINCLAIR)

Obstetrician and gynaecologist and first woman president of the BMA (b Norfolk 1912; q University College Hospital 1937; FRCOG, FRCS; DBE), d 28 December 1999. A determined advocate of women's health care, she had Yorkshire blood. Her mother was a gifted organist and her father a Methodist minister, and her stiffest test, at 13, was convincing them that she wanted to be a doctor. At Oxford she gained a blue for hockey and sang in the Bach Choir. She gave up hockey at 50 and choral singing at 86. As a clinical student she decided to become a consultant in a London teaching hospital, which meant breaching the male domination. She prepared by becoming “probably the most examined student in Britain—a typically modest reference to the MRCP, FRCS, MRCOG, and MD that she had gained by 1941, while training in obstetrics during the blitz. Even so there were “many applications and many refusals” before, at 42, she became the first woman consultant at Charing Cross Hospital. She was proud of being the first FRCOG to give birth. As a young consultant she had a reputation for punctuality, driving around London in a sports car.

Dame Josephine worked at the women only Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital until she retired in 1977 and later helped to save it from closure, even joining a protest march to Downing Street. Her committee responsibilities grew. She was a member of the Lane committee on the working of the Abortion Act, the Royal Commission on Medical Education, and the Warnock committee on in vitro fertilisation. For 21 years she was a council member of the Medical Defence Union, and her written reports were models of conciseness. She was an examiner for universities in the United Kingdom, the West Indies, Nigeria, and Uganda. In the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists she was a member of council, a vice president, a member of the court of patrons, and an honorary fellow. Dame Josephine was president of the Medical Women's Federation and, for 17 years, of the National Association of Family Planning Doctors. She received several honorary fellowships and honorary degrees, and was an honorary member of the French and Italian obstetrical and gynaecological societies. She enjoyed wine and became a Commandeur du Bontemps de Medoc et Graves—typically, by examination. Her marriage to Sir Brian Warren (a GP) was dissolved in 1964 and he predeceased her. She leaves two daughters and a son (a GP). One granddaughter is also a doctor.

[James Owen Drife]

Alan Humphrey Barker

Former general practitioner south Leicestershire (b Sheffield 1909; q King's College/St George's 1951), died after an accident on 29 December 1999. He served in the Royal Navy as a pharmacist and optician, but had been determined to be a general practitioner from the age of 4 and worked hard to get into medical school. He enjoyed his years in general practice and his pharmaceutical experience helped him in his dispensing practice. He retired to the Isle of Man where his main interests were walking his dogs and do it yourself, even to the day of his death. He continued to keep up to date in medicine and pharmacy into his 90s. Predeceased by his wife, he leaves a son; a daughter; four grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

[Audrey K Barker]

Victor Meir Dellal

Former general practitioner (b Baghdad 1905; q Manchester 1930), d 16 November 1999. He lived in Baghdad until his mother died in the flu epidemic of 1918. He worked in general practice in Hammersmith in London until 1940 when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was with the 1st Army in the north Africa campaign and was acting medical superintendent of a prisoner of war camp in Italy where he rose to the rank of major. He returned to his practice and devoted his life to his patients, foregoing the opportunity to work in private practice. He was proud to be a friend of many generations in each family. Many charities benefited from his generosity and he helped several needy patients from Jewish and non—Jewish communities in Arab countries. He remained in practice until he was 80 and lived in the same house until he died. He continued to meet many of his former patients on his daily walks on Brook Green. He leaves a wife, Fahima; a son; and a daughter (a GP in his practice); and several grandchildren and great grandchildren, the last born the day after he died.

[Edward Shaoul]

Hock Hoo Ee

General practitioner York (b Penang 1946; q Manchester 1973), d 7 December 1999. He intended to pursue a career in paediatrics and was a registrar in York, but he entered general practice in 1979. He soon built up a reputation as a caring doctor and for many years he worked as a clinical assistant, running the anticoagulant clinic at York District Hospital. He also acted as medical officer to two barracks. Outside medicine he was interested in motor cars and keeping koi carp. Problems in his personal life became intolerable for him and he felt unable to face his future. He leaves a wife, Magdalain, and two adopted children.

[Paul M Woodrow]

John Rushworth Holden

Former general practitioner Delabole, Cornwall, 1947–80 (b 1915; q Middlesex Hospital 1939), d 14 May 1999. He played rugby in the first 15 at school and medical school. Soon after qualification he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, took a course in tropical medicine, and served with the West Africa Force for four years. He took his own microscope and when the force's consulting physician saw this he recruited John into his research team. After the war he entered general practice in Cornwall, which he loved, and where he became something of a legend. He was a keen fisherman and shot and a naturalist, and his harmless eccentricities caused much amusement. In the shooting season he always carried a gun and a set of pipes to attract the birds as he hid in a handy ditch. When the villagers produced “This is Your Life” when John retired the first person to appear was a sturdy ploughman, the first baby he had delivered in Cornwall. He leaves a wife, Bridget; three children; and five grandchildren.

[Raymond Staveacre Rowntree]

Charles Cotton Kennedy


Embedded Image

Former consultant clinical pathologist Belfast City Hospital, 1954–76 (b Belfast 1911; q Oxford/Guy's 1946; DM, FRCPath), d 5 September 1999. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, based in Palestine, then worked in the Toronto Chest Hospital for a year. He returned to Northern Ireland in 1948 to specialise in haematology. He contributed to many papers, one was on the discovery of a local haemoglobinopathy which was subsequently named haemoglobin Belfast. He was an unassuming and conscientious man with a mischievous sense of humour. The laboratory ran like clockwork and he kept a watchful eye on the welfare of his staff. His interests included photography and heraldry and when he retired he moved to Dorset. He leaves a wife, Ismene; four children; and seven grandchildren.

[Emma Case, Geraldine Markey]

George Krasner

Former general practitioner Glasgow, 1936–78 (b New York 1908; q Glasgow 1932; MD), d 21 December 1999. He had a distinguished undergraduate career, culminating in the award of the Hunterian Medal for Obstetrics, and then at Stobhill Hospital he developed an interest in allergy and asthma. He had a short period as a police surgeon before entering general practice. During the war he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in India, reaching the rank of major. He worked singlehandedly for 20 years before entering a partnership and retiring at the age of 70. He contributed a regular medical column to a popular tabloid newspaper. He took part in the teaching programme for medical students at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, presenting heart disease from a GP's point of view. Until his sight began to fail he was an avid reader which left him little time for his main hobby, painting. He retired to Sussex. Predeceased by his wife, Phyllis, he leaves two sons and four grandchildren.

[Neville Krasner]

George Kenneth Laxton

Consultant geriatrician West Gippsland Hospital, Victoria, Australia, 1981–98 (b Dewsbury 1919; q Leeds 1942; DTMH, FRCP), died from pancreatic cancer on 17 December 1999. He served in the colonial service in Kenya from 1951 to 1960 before returning to the United Kingdom and geriatric medicine, which he saw develop from a Cinderella discipline to a major branch of medicine. He was a consultant in Nottingham; Coventry and Rugby; Hull, where he was the sole consultant with 370 beds; and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals, where he was the sole consultant for the first five years. In 1976 he was appointed to Gippsland in Victoria to provide a geriatric service to 16 hospitals, covering a population of 250 000. Five years later and after a road accident he reduced his work to providing a service to three hospitals. George's love of walking started as a medical student in the Yorkshire Dales, and on his return from east Africa he started a habit of daily walks, which he maintained, usually accompanied by his much loved Border terriers. He enjoyed golf and maintained an interest in poetry, literature, music, and natural history throughout his life. He had a great sense of humour and was known as “the gentle physician.” Predeceased by his first wife, Sydney, he leaves his second wife, Josephine; a daughter and two sons (one an anaesthetist) from his first marriage; and six grandchildren.

[Josephine Laxton]

James Brian Bonella Riddell

Consultant psychiatrist Glasgow (b 1949; q Glasgow 1973; MRCPsych), died from bronchopneumonia on 25 November 1999. Brian was a consultant at Woodilee and Stobhill Hospitals and latterly a clinical director at Lennox Castle Hospital. He was active in the BMA, being a past chairman and secretary of the Glasgow Division, a regular attender at annual meetings, and a member of the Scottish council and the Scottish Committee for Hospital Medical Services. He chaired his trust's medical staff association. Brian enjoyed painting, Bible studies, and sailing. He leaves a wife, Janice (also a consultant psychiatrist); a son; two daughters; and his mother.

[Zal Rahman]

Michael Edward Snell


Embedded Image

Former consultant urologist St Mary's Hospital, London, 1970–95 (b 1936; q Cambridge/St Mary's 1960; MChir, FRCS), died from a prolonged cerebrovascular illness on 22 September 1999. He was born in Nyasaland (now Malawi), where his father ran a tea and coffee plantation. His training included a fellowship at Stanford, California, and he then joined the team at St Mary's, which was establishing a renal transplant unit. He soon became a major player in the field of renovascular work and transplant surgery in which he also worked in a voluntary capacity at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He did important work in organ preservation by the use of hyperbaric oxygen and developed an innovative operation for retrieving organs, which became widely used. He also did original work in photodynamic therapy for bladder cancers. Michael's cheerfulness and integrity, together with his manual skills and dedication to detail made him an exceptional clinician and surgeon and a respected teacher. He was always available to help a colleague or speak to a concerned relative. He loved the outdoor life and retained an affection for Africa, making frequent trips back to Malawi. He had hoped to end his professional life working there in a mission hospital, but when he was forced to take early retirement he pursued his interest in traditional African medicine. He and his wife created a welcoming home. He had a strong religious faith and was an active member of his church community. Michael faced his illness, with its associated lapses of memory, in a positive way and never let it diminish his enjoyment of company. He leaves a wife, Didi; four children; and four grandchildren.

[Luke Zander, Alasdair Fraser]

Nualla Briggs (née Sommerville)

Former general practitioner (q Dublin 1950), d 9 December 1999. Predeceased by her husband, Patrick, she leaves three sons; two daughters; and 12 grandchildren.

View Abstract

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Free trial

Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial

Subscribe