Lives of the fellows

Thomas William James Johnson

b.13 October 1885 d.16 October 1954
MB ChB NZ(1909) MD NZ(1912) MRCS LRCP(1911) MRCP(1911) FRCP(1932) FRACP(1938)

T. W. J. Johnson, who was to take a leading part in many activities connected with its hospital, was born at Dunedin. His father was William Plummer Johnson, and his mother Charlotte New Zealand Johnson, née Jefcoate. He entered Otago University as a junior entrance scholar from Thames High School and Auckland Grammar School, and in his undergraduate days not only won every possible prize, including the medical travelling scholarship, but also got his hockey blue and became president of the students’ association.

On graduation he held posts at Dunedin Hospital before coming to London, where he was a resident at the Middlesex and Maida Vale Hospitals. On his return home, he settled to ten years of general practice in Napier, where he was on the honorary staff of its hospital. Following a further visit to London in 1921 he returned to his native Auckland, where he became senior physician to the Hospital, an examiner in medicine to Otago University, and a member of the Medical Council of New Zealand.

He was a foundation fellow, a censor and vice-president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In addition he was consulting physician to the Royal New Zealand Navy and to the Fiji Government in New Zealand, and did excellent work as chairman of the Miners’ Pension Appeal Board and of the Dominion Tuberculosis Committee. An excellent teacher, Johnson always expressed himself clearly in simple language to his students, who valued his advice both as undergraduates and practitioners. Of his many hobbies the main one was the history, folklore and language of the Maoris.

In 1911 he married Mary Lilian Rutherford. Their twin sons qualified in medicine.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1955, 1, 1345; Lancet, 1954, 2, 1134; New Zealand Herald, 18 Oct. 1954.]

(Volume V, page 216)

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