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College history - Obituaries

Dr John George Simpson FRACGP

Born: 27 March 1916
Died: 28 February 1997

In 1956 John Simpson attended a meeting in Melbourne of approximately 20 GPs who agreed to establish a Victoria Faculty of the College of General Practitioners.

Thus John became a Foundation Member of the College and was a member of the Victoria Faculty when it was established on 1 November 1956. He continued to be an active member of the Board for 20 years and in 1971 was elected Provost.

In 1961 he became a member of the College Council and then commenced a 10 year period as editor of the College journal, Annals of General Practice. From 1971 to 1980 he continued his involvement as a member of the editorial board of the journal, which was renamed Australian Family Physician. He became a Fellow of the RACGP in 1968.

Happy school days at Scotch and Geelong Colleges, where John was a prefect and represented his school in athletics and rowing, preceded his medical course and graduation in I941 at the University of Melbourne.

After a year working at Launceston General Hospital, John enlisted in the army in 1942 and served first in Darwin and then in Borneo. After the memorial service to John, held at St Columba's Church at Balwyn on 4 March 1997, several servicemen spoke about John's courage and competence during the bloody battles of Balikpapan in 1945.

After the war John embarked on a 30 year career in general practice in Balwyn, where he provided an exemplary comprehensive family medicine service, which included numerous honorary appointments such as the Royal Children's Hospital, St John's Homes for Boys and Girls, XVI Olympiad and Medical Benevolent Association.

In 1975 he returned to the Royal Children's Hospital as Staff Medical Officer for 7 years, after which he remained in part time general practice until 1992.

From 1967 to 1977 John was a Member of Council, of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victorian Branch. He was a Director of the Australasian Medical Publishing Company from 1974 to 1980, and became a Fellow of the AMA in 1980.

John's high ideals and sense of justice were regularly evident in his thoughtful contributions at meetings, and in conversations he was softly spoken and interesting. His wife, Gwen, always provided great support for John and was an active member of the Medical Wives Committee of the College.

Ian L Rowe
John C Riddell

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

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