Lives of the fellows

William Joseph Smith

b.1916? d.? February 1998
MBE MB ChB NZ(1941) MD FRCP(1972) FRACP

William Smith was a physician specialising in respiratory and cardiac medicine at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand. He grew up on the west coast of New Zealand. After schooling at St Patrick's in Silverstream, Wellington, he entered medical school at Dunedin. He graduated in 1941.

From 1942 to 1943 he was a medical officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, based in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. These war time experiences influenced his later decision to join the Pacific Leprosy Foundation, which he joined in 1964 and served with distinction for nearly 25 years - many of them as chairman of the medical advisory board.

On return from the Islands he studied in Melbourne, where he gained his MD in respiratory medicine. Two years later he went to the Brompton in London, and succeeded in passing his membership examination of the College.

Above all, he was a dedicated and meticulous physician who spent most of his professional life specialising in respiratory and cardiac medicine at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch, where for 30 years he was a valued teacher to the new medical school.

He was a leading New Zealand tennis player - winning national championships, as well as tournaments in Otago and Canterbury. He reached the second round at Wimbledon in 1950 and was later president of both the Canterbury and New Zealand National Tennis Associations. Later in life he won the New Zealand Veterans Championship and the Australian Interstate Championship on several occasions.

He will be remembered in Christchurch for his love of fine wine and hospitality, and his dedication to Italian opera. He was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his years of dedicated and voluntary work for leprosy in the Pacific.

He married Annette Mercer in 1945 they had four daughters and two sons.

Don Beaven

(Volume XI, page 532)

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