Lives of the fellows

John George Gibson

b.14 April 1920 d.15 June 1974
MB BCh BAO Belf(1942) MD(1946) DPM(1954) MRCP(1949) FRCP(1964) FRCPsych(1971)

John George Gibson was born at Belfast, Northern Ireland, the son of Charles Snead Gibson, engineer, and Margaret Annie Morris, daughter of William Henry Morris, a farmer. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Queen’s University, Belfast. He graduated MB BCh BAO in 1942, and MD in 1946. After RAF service at home and in Africa, he took postgraduate medical training at the Royal Free Hospital, London. His psychiatric training was undertaken at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and later at Harvard where he was a teaching fellow, working at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He retained an abiding respect and affection for the Institute of Psychiatry and on returning to England he took up a post as senior lecturer there, and also became consultant psychiatrist to the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals. In collaboration with Sir Aubrey Lewis he set up the metabolic ward at the Maudsley; he had a deep interest in psychosomatic interrelationships which continued throughout his career.

In 1957 he became foundation professor of mental health at Queen’s University, Belfast, a post he held until his death. He was also a foundation fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He was an examiner in the academic postgraduate DPM and the MPhil and also examined in the MRCP and the MRCPsych examinations. His arrangements for the stringent examining in psychiatry of final year students for the Victoria Colman award, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health, were said to be a model. Shortly before he died he accepted the chairmanship of the Association.

Gibson was a first class physician and it would be a very elusive sign that evaded his notice. His quiet, gentle character and outstanding ability as a teacher and clinician, and his concern for the feelings of his patients, was an example of what a really good doctor should be, and he will be remembered with respect and affection. He was a boss who never cracked the whip; who used leadership, not dictatorship.

He married Emily Charlotte, daughter of Robert Davey, a minister of religion, in 1944 and they had a son and three daughters. His hobbies were painting and archaeology, and his charming wife and family and the peace of their happy home in the country, were a great source of strength to him.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1974, 3, 178; Lancet, 1974, 2, 59]

(Volume VI, page 194)

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