Lives of the fellows

Geoffrey Howitt

b.20 September 1926 d.24 Aug 1997
MB ChB Manch( 1950) MRCP Edin(1957) MRCP(1958) MD(1963) FRCP Edin(1968) FRCP(1970)

Geoffrey Howitt was a Manchester man through ' and through; he trained at the University and for most of his professional career as a cardiologist he was based at the city’s Royal Infirmary. He was first educated at Chadderton Grammar in Greater Manchester and later went on to medical school, qualifying in 1950, winning the Dauntsey junior and senior scholarships and the Tom Jones prize in anatomy.

After initial basic medical training at the Manchester Royal Infirmary he joined the RAF. He was discharged in February 1955 and became senior house officer to J H Wright [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.605] at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. It was this appointment which stimulated his interest in cardiology and decided his future career. He remained in Glasgow as a registrar in general medicine, returning to Manchester Royal Infirmary in April 1958 as senior registrar in the department of cardiology. Subsequently he became lecturer in cardiology in 1960, honorary consultant physician in June 1963 and consultant cardiologist in October 1967. He became physician in charge of the department of cardiology in 1984.

Geoffrey was a good organizer - he possessed the gift of working well within and leading a multi-disciplinary team. He was both liked and respected by all members of the staff, both medical and paramedical.

He was active in clinical research, publishing several papers, mainly on topics related to cardiology. In particular he was interested in the natural history of congenital heart disease with left-to-right shunts and heart disease in pregnancy. His MD thesis was a study of congenital heart disease in pregnancy. He was not, however, a narrow field specialist. He was primarily a clinician, his task was to care for patients whose problems were not necessarily confined to the cardiovascular system and in this his wide experience in general medicine stood him in good stead. His opinion was widely sought, both by patients and by his medical colleagues. He was an excellent clinical teacher, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of London, to whom he became a regional adviser. He was a member of the British Cardiac Society and the Association of Physicians of Britain and Northern Ireland and the Manchester Medical Society, of which he was secretary in 1966.

He married Jean Sutcliffe in 1953. They had three boys, the eldest is in general practice and the two younger boys have emigrated to the United States and are now engaged in commerce. Jean was strongly inclined to the arts and some years after their marriage she obtained a BA degree at the University of Manchester. With Jean, Geoffrey became involved in the cultural life of Manchester, particularly the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Manchester City Art Gallery and the Hallé Orchestra. Geoffrey was also a keen golfer and a leading member of the Wilmslow Golf Club, being in turn captain and at the time of his death, president. This interest was also shared by his wife.

His family life was Geoffreys power base throughout his life. He died of cancer of the pancreas. He died as he had lived, with dignity and courage at home with his family around him.

Geoffrey Wade

[, 997,315,1239]

(Volume X, page 236)

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