Lives of the fellows

Oliver Peter Gray

b.27 April 1924 d.6 October 1994
MB ChB Birm(1947) MRCP(1952)DCH(1952)FRCP( 1970)

Peter Gray was a gentle physician, a loyal friend and a tenacious advocate of childrens health. He was born in Nottingham, the son of Oliver Marshall Gray, a company registrar, and received his early education at the County Grammar School. He went on to the University of Birmingham Medical School, where he won the gold medal in physiology, and on graduation he was appointed to the coveted post of house physician to Melville Arnott. In 1948 he spent a year at Nottingham City Hospital, returning to Birmingham in 1949 to follow his chosen career in paediatrics; working as house physician to Leonard Parsons, later Sir Leonard, [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.588], and RMO at the Birmingham Childrens Hospital.

In 1951 he married Marion Findlay Muir, daughter of a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, and they subsequently had three daughters. Their home provided open hospitality to their many friends. In 1952 he was appointed registrar at the United Cardiff Hospitals and later became senior registrar to A G Watkins, Wales’ first professor of child health [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.559]. After a brief period as lecturer at Guy’s Hospital, London, he returned to Wales in 1959 when he was appointed senior lecturer at the Welsh National School of Medicine. He was elected professor of child health in 1968.

Peter Gray was an experienced general paediatrician with a particular interest in neonatal medicine, but he refrained from over-specializing in techniques of neonatology, then a rapidly advancing specialty, preferring to bring in younger colleagues to lead and reap the academic harvest of the pioneering work while he himself fostered a global view of the health of children, a view he considered appropriate to the head of a department responsible for teaching paediatrics and child health in Cardiff. From the chair at Cardiff he developed a network of paediatric services throughout Wales especially designed to meet the needs of the most deprived children in the South Wales valleys. He then sent his students out to the various districts, as part of their child health course, where they were received enthusiastically by his friends and fellow members of the Welsh Paediatric Society, of which he was a founder member. This practice continues today, to the great benefit of the graduates of the Cardiff School. He was an excellent teacher and staunch in support of his junior colleagues.

As a devout Christian it seemed proper to him that there should be a Christian Medical Fellowship meeting at the time of the annual meetings of the British Paediatric Association, yet sensitive to intrusion upon the activities of those with other or no specific religious convictions, he established this continuing tradition in the form of an early breakfast, finding extra time by borrowing from the night hours. When off duty, he played squash and assisted his local church with their youth work.

J D Baum

[Brit.med.J. 1995.310,733-34; The Times, 15 Nov 1994]

(Volume X, page 176)

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