Lives of the fellows

George Seymour Gray

b.5 August 1918 d.2 February 2004
MB BS Durham(1942) MRCP(1948) FRCPC(1972) FRCP(1981)

George Seymour Gray was an internist in a small city in Alberta, Canada. He was born in Drumheller, Alberta, and received his school education in Drumheller and later at Crescent Heights High School, Calgary. Following graduation, he went to England in 1936 to study medicine at the University of Durham, attending King's College Medical School in Newcastle. He graduated in 1942 and worked in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle from 1942 to 1944 as a house physician and junior medical registrar.

1944 was a landmark year for George, as he married his wife Margery and also joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, subsequently serving in the UK, India and Burma. Following demobilisation in 1947, he returned to Newcastle and for one year was medical registrar to the neurosurgical unit, at the end of which he obtained his MRCP in 1948. He returned to North America and, after further postgraduate studies at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, he settled in Lethbridge, Alberta, where he worked as an internist at the Haig Clinic for approximately 40 years. He received his fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1972 and, much to his delight, received his Fellowship of the College in 1981.

The above is an outline of his career, but says little of the man and the doctor he was. Internal medical practice in a small Alberta city was quite unlike that in the United Kingdom. The nearest specialists, including cardiologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons, were 130 miles away in Calgary. In his early days in practice there was no ready access to Calgary by plane or helicopter, only by road. This made the work of a general internist both difficult and demanding. George, as he was always known, was more than capable of practicing under these conditions, in fact he thrived upon them. He carried on a busy consulting practice for local and rural general practitioners and was always ready to give a valued second opinion to his other internist colleagues. Despite his busy practice he always kept up to date with the expansion of medical knowledge.

In addition to his practice he found time to work hard for the Alberta Medical Association and he was chairman or a member of one association, committee or another from 1951 to 1981. This was tiring work as it involved a great deal of travel, but George was always a pleasant and charming gentleman. He served for many years on the editorial committee of the Alberta Medical Bulletin and for 12 years (one as chairman) he served on the committee for the medical aspects of transport accidents.

He also embraced activities outside of medicine and was a member of the public school board for eight years and was on the board of directors of the local branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses. He was also a very active and devoted member of the Presbyterian church, and served as an elder of the church for many years.

As a young man, George took part in athletics, his specialty being the 100 yards. He continued sporting activities during his life, particularly tennis, squash and dinghy sailing. He was always an avid reader and was knowledgeable in many fields outside of medicine, particularly classical music, which he enjoyed right up to the end. His final years were difficult due to a prolonged illness, which he bore with his usual patience and fortitude. He was predeceased by his wife Margery and is survived by his two children, Margaret and John.

R King-Brown

(Volume XI, page 231)

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