Lives of the fellows

Emyr Wyn Jones

b.23 May 1907 d.14 January 1999
OBE(1949) MB ChB Liverp(1928) MD Liverp(1930) DPH(1931) MRCP(1933) FRCP(1949) FSA(1983) Hon LLD Wales(1987)

Note: the first obituary (below) was published in print form in Volume XI; the second was received after publication of the printed edition.

Emir Wyn Jones was a consultant physician and cardiologist in Liverpool. He was born in Waunfawr, Caernarvonshire, north Wales, the son of James Jones, a Calvinistic Methodist Minister. He was educated at Caernarvon County School, and then, at the early age of 16, went to medical school in Liverpool. He graduated with first class honours in 1928, and then went on to complete an MD two years later.

He held several research fellowships before joining the consultant staff at the Liverpool teaching hospitals in 1935. He was later physician in charge of the cardiac centre, director of studies in cardiology, and lecturer in clinical medicine at the medical school. During the second world war he was physician to the Emergency Medical Services for north Wales.

Emyr was chairman of the British Cardiac Society and president (later honorary life president) of Y Gymdeithas Feddygol (the Welsh language medical society). He had a long association with the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, representing it on the council and court of the university.

Outside medicine he was high sheriff of the county of Caernarfon from 1947 to 1948, a member of the court of governors of the National Library and the National Museum of Wales, and president of the court of the National Eisteddfod. He was later elected a fellow of the Eisteddfod. He wrote extensively on cardiology and on the history of medicine in Welsh and English.

His first wife, Enid, whom he married in 1936, died suddenly in 1967. In 1973 he married for a second time, to Megan. He had a son and a daughter from his first marriage.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J.,1999,318,1014;The Independent19 Feb 1999]

Emyr Wyn Jones was a consultant physician and cardiologist in Liverpool. He was born in Waunfawr, the heart of rural and rugged north Wales. A son of the manse, he was educated at Sir Hugh Owen School, Caernarfon. He followed the path of an elder brother who also studied medicine, but who died at an early age. Emyr Wyn trained in Liverpool, graduating in 1928 with first class honours and distinctions in both medicine and surgery. Mentors in his early days were Sir Robert Kelly and John Hay [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VI, p.258]. He was awarded several scholarships, including one from the Medical Research Council. He was awarded his MD and MRCP in quick succession.

He was initially appointed as a consultant to the Liverpool teaching hospitals and then more specifically to the Royal Liverpool Hospital in 1938 until his retirement in 1972. He was a visiting consultant at hospitals in Bangor, Wrexham and Rhyl. Cardiology was his specialist interest, and he was appointed to posts of responsibility within the specialty, both on local and national bodies. He served on the Welsh Hospital Board, which was followed by an appointment as chairman of the Clwyd Health Authority. His Welsh colleagues bestowed on him the honour of being life president of Y Gymdeithas Feddygol (the Welsh Language Medical Society).

He held many other positions of honour and responsibility outside medicine. His never-ending stores of energy served him in good stead as he travelled from the Lleyn peninsula to Cardiff to attend the University of Wales’ council meetings. Similarly, he would never miss a concert of the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union of which he was an honorary president.

Books and monographs stemmed from his pen, both in Welsh and English. His publication concerning the explorer H M Stanley challenged the accuracy of the subject’s autobiography (Sir Henry M Stanley: the enigma: review of the early years Denbigh, Gee, c.1989). Other subjects as diverse as Henry VII’s Welsh connections, and the life and times of John Thomas, a famous Liverpool Welsh photographer, became classical monographs. He wrote three books on various aspects of medicine namely Ar ffiniau meddygaeth (Llandysul, J D Lewis, 1959), Ysgrifau’r meddyg (Y Bala, Llyfrau'r Faner, 1973) and Bysedd cochion ac ysgrifau eraill (Bala, Llyfrau'r Faner, 1978).

The most touching volume that he produced was Cyfaredd cof (Lerpwl, Cyhoeddiadau Modern Cymreig, 1970).This was a work precipitated by the sudden and unexpected death of his first wife, Enid Wyn Jones, while they were returning from the Far East. It is a testament to their love for each other and their common interests, including the Quaker tradition.

He was highly respected for his work with the National Library and Museum of Wales. He was also heavily involved with the National Eisteddfod of Wales, adopting ‘Emyr Feddyg’ (‘Doctor Emyr’) as his pseudonym. In 1952 he was accepted into the ranks of those Welshmen honoured by the National Eisteddfod for their contribution to Wales. He served the National Eisteddfod council as both administrator and chairman. He subsequently became its president between 1983 and 1986.

In 1987 he was awarded an honorary degree LLD by the University of Wales in recognition for services to his nation.

Emyr Wyn and Enid were blessed with a son, Gareth, and a daughter, Carys, both of whom have made substantial contributions to academic life. Emyr Wyn married Megan in 1973. They moved to Aberdaron in the Lleyn peninsula in 1976 where they spent a very happy time together.

It was on the Eisteddfod field that his contribution to his fellow man was evident. He would progress slowly around the field unable to gain any pace due to constant interruptions from previous patients and their families, established doctors who studied under his supervision, academics and important figures from the Welsh literary society, all of whom had been privileged to know the living legend called Emyr Wyn.

John G Williams

(Volume XI, page web)

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