Lives of the fellows

John Harold Simpson

b.4 February 1918 d.20 April 2006
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BChir Cantab(1943) MRCP(1949) MD(1952) FRCP(1969)

John Harold Simpson was a consultant physician in general and geriatric medicine at Exeter. He was known as ‘Jack’ to distinguish him from John Rowell Simpson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.523], a consultant dermatologist in the same area. Jack was born in Manchester, the son of Harold Frederick Simpson, an iron and steel merchant, and Nesta Evans. Nesta’s father was James Evans, a newspaper proprietor. Jack was educated at St Aubyns in Rottingdean and then, with an open scholarship, at Wellington College in Berkshire where, as a .303 marksman, he won the Spencer-Mellish cup at Bisley in 1936. He proceeded to Clare College, Cambridge, and thence to the Middlesex Hospital.

After qualifying MRCS LRCP in 1942 he held the post of house physician at Bradford Royal Infirmary. In 1943 he qualified MB BChir (Cantab). He saw war service in the Royal Artillery as regimental medical officer for the 116 FD, 92 FD and 153 FD regiments. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, with palm.

Next, he held the posts of house physician and assistant resident medical officer at the Brompton Hospital from 1948 to 1949, when he became MRCP. Then he became senior medical registrar at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital from 1949 to 1956 and during this time, from 1952 to 1953, visiting fellow in medicine at the Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York. His MD thesis, awarded in 1952, was on status asthmaticus. In 1953 he published in the British Medical Journal on polyarteritis nodosa. He also published four papers in American journals. In 1956 he was appointed assistant physician at the Norfolk and Clinical Area in geriatrics.

In 1958 he was appointed consultant physician in general and geriatric medicine in the Exeter clinical area. He served on various management and advisory committees between 1958 and 1983 and as chief medical adviser to the London and Manchester Assurance Group from 1977 to 1988. From 1979 to 1983 he was consultant member and chairman of Exeter district management team. He was medical member of Medical Appeal Tribunals from 1980 to 1992 and sometime member of St Loye’s College board of management. He was a member of the Devon Community Housing Society; a care home in Exeter is named after him. He was a chairman and vice-chairman of Hospiscare. He was racecourse medical officer at the Devon and Exeter Steeple Chase at Haldon.

In 1960 Jack married Susanna, daughter of Stuart Jasper Cowell, emeritus professor of nutritional medicine; they had one son and two daughters. After Susanna died in 1971 he married Heather Cory in 1973 and they had one daughter (the marriage was dissolved in 1977). In 1978 he married Ann Martin.

In 1968 wrote a chapter on ageing in Medical aspects of fitness to drive for the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention.

Jack’s interests included French wine, modern languages and golf, France and the French, their people language and wine, snooker, birds, bridge and Lancashire, Norfolk and Devon – their people, dialects, accents and countryside. He died in Exeter.

Christopher Gardner-Thorpe

(Volume XII, page web)

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