Lives of the fellows

John Rees Roberts

b.2 November 1924 d.26 January 2005
VRD(1964) MB ChB Liverp(1948) MD(1958) MRCP(1953) FRCP(1972)

John Rees Roberts pioneered the development of paediatric neurology in the Merseyside region. He was born near Caenarvon and was very much influenced by his parents. His father, Owen Roberts, was a Presbyterian minister and his mother, Anne Maria neé Rees was a teacher. From St Asaph Grammar School he won a scholarship to study medicine at Liverpool University. As a student he was an accomplished footballer and played for both the university and Everton FC reserves.

After qualifying, he held a post as a house physician at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, and then completed his National Service. He went on to join the Royal Air Force Reserve and then the Royal Naval Reserve at HMS Eaglet. He rose to become surgeon captain and for the whole of his career was an honorary consultant paediatrician to the Royal Navy. He was awarded the VRD in 1964.

His early postgraduate training was in Liverpool, followed by a Fulbright fellowship to the University of Cincinnati, where he met his future wife, Elvy. He was appointed as a lecturer and consultant paediatrician to Liverpool Children's Hospitals in 1958. His achievements included the development of joint clinical services with paediatric and adult colleagues throughout Merseyside and north Wales. His publications included an account of the long-term results following early operation for open myelomeningocele (jointly with Peter Rickham) together with papers on subacute encephalitis and gangliosidosis.

John lived life to the full and was a great and mercurial conversationalist. On occasions he was difficult to keep up with as he darted from one topic to another. He loved company, sailing, fishing and, above all, golf. He was captain of the Royal Liverpool Club in 1983 at the time that the Walker Cup was played there.

He retired in 1989 and in 1996 he developed a dense hemiplegia, although he remained bright and alert. Further strokes followed in 2001. He leaves his devoted wife, three sons (David, Philip and Peter) and two granddaughters.

Lewis Rosenbloom
John Martin

(Volume XII, page web)

<< Back to List