A brilliantly sharp, hard-working GP
Richard Evans is remembered as a kind, gentle and humble man, a master ‘Mr Fixit’. Born in Birmingham in 1944, he attended Cambridge University before starting his working life as a journalist for The Economist Intelligence Unit. He soon changed course to study at St George’s Medical School at the University of London, graduating with an MBBS in 1972. He met Faeghe, an Iranian midwife, in an Epsom hospital, making excellent use of his ‘Made in Persia’ tie to woo her onto a first date. They married in 1975, and soon set off in search of sunshine, settling in Perth in 1979.
Richard worked as medical officer for Cathay Pacific, BP and Cockburn Cement, then was medical registrar at the Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) before moving into general practice. He bought a practice in Leederville where he worked for approximately 15 years.
Thereafter, he took locum GP jobs, allowing him to combine medicine with his love of nature. He worked from Far North Queensland to Mullaloo, Western Australia, and everywhere in between.
We would treasure time spent around the dining room table, with Dad regaling us with stories of outback medical adventures, one of which ended with him saving the hospital from a confused, rampaging patient by using morphine and midazolam to ‘take him down!’. My younger brothers were fortunate to spend time in Dad’s surgery as medical students. He was surveyor of general practice in WA from 1998.
Dad joked that if there was ever a call for a doctor on a flight, one should stay seated just a few seconds longer, giving the chance for an eager young doctor to spring up, thus avoiding hours of potential babysitting. On one occasion as we flew back to Perth, we looked at each other for a moment before he smiled cheekily and got up to calmly attend to the screaming boy with leg cramps. He gently massaged the boy’s leg and ruffled his hair until he settled, then took great pleasure in ribbing me for the next few months for not having the requisite skills to sort it out. I replied that he should have followed his own advice, as I had just been getting my shoes on.
He was an avid bird watcher, skilled fisherman, amateur fossicker, talented water skier, scuba diver, guitarist, cricketer, rugby international, gifted orator, occasional cook and valued member of the Baha’i community. He took great pride in his sons’ achievements, though often joked that none had inherited his athleticism, also true of his talent at electrical work – bad news for Mum’s Kenwood mixer which Dad had revived many times over 40 years.
Shortly after his 40th wedding anniversary, a seizure heralded the presence of a glioblastoma multiforme.* Dad faced the next four months with characteristic pragmatism, courage and humour, passing away peacefully in Perth in December 2015. His was an exemplary life – well lived and in constant service of others. He is dearly missed by his wife Faeghe, sons James, Matthew, Stephen and Eric, daughters-in-law Maryam, Hoda and Layli, and grandsons Oliver and Leo.
*Evans MRB, Evans SB. Glioblastoma multiforme: A devastating diagnosis. Pract Neurol 2016;16(5):416–18. doi:10.1136/practneurol-2016-001424.
Members may request a copy of the article from the RACGP John Murtagh Library.
Consultant neurologist Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Westminster Bridge Road London, SE1 7EH