Lives of the fellows

Richard John Frankel

b.24 May 1940 d.11 August 2008
MB BCh Witwatersrand(1962) MRCP(1967) FRCP(1985)

Richard John Frankel was a consultant general physician and endocrinologist at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he was the son of a barrister, Oscar Irving Frankel, and his wife Marie Clare. Educated at St Stithians College in Johannesburg, he studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand and the Johannesburg General Hospital. After qualifying in 1962, he did house jobs at the General in 1963 and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto the following year.

In 1965 he moved to London and was house physician at the North Middlesex Hospital. Later he moved to the Whittington and, after that, the Hammersmith Hospital. He became a lecturer in the medical unit of the London Hospital in 1967 and then senior medical registrar at St George’s where he stayed from 1972 to 1977, including a year spent in San Francisco doing research.

Appointed consultant physician to the Frimley Park Hospital, he had to build up the specialist diabetic and endocrine services as the hospital had only been founded three years previously, in 1974. Not only did he manage to achieve this in his own specialty, but he also expanded the obstetric and other services. In his time there he undertook several senior management positions and was frequently consulted for his advice by colleagues and hospital managers. His main achievement was to design and set up a state of the art postgraduate centre. For this he successfully raised enough surplus funds, with the assistance of his wife, to further construct a new junior doctor’s mess including study bedrooms and a squash court.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed tennis, swimming, walking and skiing. A keen gardener, he loved his large garden in Hampshire and also that of his villa in Tuscany, where he had an olive grove.

In 1968 he married Merula Jane, a nurse who eventually became a JP. They had a son, Ben, and three daughters, Sarah, Georgina and Hannah. He died in a tragic accident when driving his seven year old granddaughter, Tugela, known as Tiggy, back from a family outing in the North East. Both of them were killed by the impact when his car ploughed into a stationary lorry at speed. He was survived by his wife, children, one of whom was medically qualified, and grandchildren.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2008 337 2649 - accessed 14 April 2015; The Journal - accessed 14 April 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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