John Hodgson Willis

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 27 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f920
  1. Ted Willis

Having joined the navy during the last two years of the war, John Hodgson Willis revelled in the student life of St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, playing rugby on the wing alongside several internationals, as well as cricket, hockey, and squash. During house jobs in Cambridge he met his future wife, Moreen. The couple took over a singlehanded practice in Lincolnshire. John did all his own on-call for many years, including regular midwifery at home and in the cottage hospital. He embraced new ideas—such as acupuncture, which he studied in Sri Lanka—and he was an early user of computerised medical records.

The practice he built up over decades is still going strong in the same listed Georgian building that he took over. He added golf, tennis, sailing, and riding to his sporting portfolio, and he was a member of local orchestras until his final weeks. A much loved mentor, he helped a succession of young people at a difficult time. He was also famous as an author of witty poems to suit all occasions. His wife died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in 1988, but he remained enthusiastic and active until his final illness. He leaves four children and 13 grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f920


  • General practitioner Brigg, North Lincolnshire 1953-1988. (b 1925; q St Mary’s 1952), died from a stroke on 10 January 2013.

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