Lives of the fellows

Geoffrey Dalawell Walker

b.30 June 1914 d.30 January 1992
BA Oxon(1936) BM BCh(1939) MRCP(1948) DM(1952) FRCP(1972)

Geoffrey Walker - Dalawell to his colleagues - was the son of Fred Walker, a naval architect. He was born in Sunderland, Co Durham, and educated at King’s College School, Wimbledon, and Oxford University. While at Oxford, Geoffrey gained his relay (100 yards) colours in 1935 and was president of the Queen’s College Athletic Club 1935-36. He was also a member of the Achilles Club. In later life he maintained his keen interest in sport, especially rugby and cricket, and at the luncheon table he would recall in detail great sporting events of the ’30s.

He studied medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital and after graduation was house officer in the EMS until 1941 when he was called up for military service with the RAMC. He was posted to East Africa where he met his future wife, Olwen Heal, who was a nursing sister. They were married in Gilgil, Kenya in 1945. When he was demobilized in 1946 he had attained the rank of major and was graded as a medical From 1946-48 he was supernumerary registrar at the Metropolitan Hospital, London. He was subsequently appointed senior medical registrar at Derby Royal Infirmary, a post he held until 1952 - the same year in which he obtained his DM Oxon. He spent the next three years as senior registrar at the North Middlesex Hospital until, in 1955, he was appointed a full-time consultant physician and physician superintendent at Newsham General Hospital, Liverpool. He became clinical tutor in 1965 and when the teaching of geriatric medicine became part of the medical course at Liverpool University in 1971 he was appointed part-time clinical lecturer in geriatric medicine. He held both appointments until his retirement in 1979.

On the introduction of the ‘cogwheel’ system he became chairman of the medical division and served on the medical executive committee of the East Liverpool group of hospitals. He continued working in a locum capacity after his retirement, until his successor was appointed in 1982.

It was in 1973 that Geoffrey returned home from a London meeting and found his wife dead. Those of us who knew him well wondered how he would cope. We should have known him better; the methodical man triumphed and he reorganized his life. On one occasion a colleague suggested that Geoffrey might represent him at a meeting; ‘Sorry', was the reply, ‘Friday night is my shopping night.’ Music played an enormous part in easing Geoffrey’s loss. He became a constant attender at concerts given by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and frequently could be seen leaving with his latest record purchase. Towards the end of his life he taught himself to play the piano and succeeded in passing Grade IV in practical and Grade V in theory. He was a member of the Liverpool Medical Institution, a student of military history, and also studied philosophy. His membership of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds gave him much pleasure, as did visiting his daughter Marion, who is a scientific officer with the Met office in Farnborough, and his grandchildren in the south of England. After retirement he made a trip to Australia to see his son Clive, who works in television, and his other grandchildren.

He suffered a myocardial infarction in the autumn of 1991, followed by heart failure before Christmas, but was able to join his daughter and her family for the Christmas festivities. He died shortly after returning home.

C V Shanahan

(Volume IX, page 547)

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