Lives of the fellows

Geoffrey Bruce Kiddle

b.3 May 1925 d.14 November 2008
BSc NZ(1948) MB ChB(1953) MRACP(1957) MRCP(1959) FRACP(1972) FRCP(1980)

Geoffrey Bruce (Geoff) Kiddle was born in Wellington, son of Walter Kiddle, engineer, and his wife, Angie (née Wright). He had three brothers, Reginald, chartered accountant, Kenneth, orchardist, and Wilfred (Bill), civil engineer. He attended Eastern Hutt Primary School and Hutt Valley High School. After leaving school, he worked as a bacteriological technician at Wellington Hospital and subsequently studied at Victoria University College for a BSc degree which was awarded in 1948. This degree enabled entry to Otago Medical School in 1949. He spent his final year and two house surgeon years at Wellington Hospital.

In 1955 he married Judith Ann (Judy) Booker, registered nurse in Wellington. They had four children, Paula Joanne, registered nurse, Bruce Thomas, land surveyor, Grant John, orthopaedic surgeon, and Julie Ann, marketing manager. He spent a year as medical registrar at Waikato Hospital in 1957, attained his MRACP, and did a year of GP locums during which time Paula was born. Geoff, Judy and Paula travelled by sea to England in 1959 where he attended the post-graduate course in medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, and attained the MRCP (London). Two years of medical registrarships followed at the Whittington and University College Hospitals.

On his return to New Zealand, Geoff set up in private consultant practice as a general physician in Wellington, and from 1962 to 1990 was a visiting physician at Hutt Hospital, serving also several years as Chairman of the Medical Staff. During this time, he had a particular interest in the hypertension and chest clinics. From 1962 to 1968 he was also a visiting physician at Calvary Hospital, Wellington (later Wakefield) and he served on the Trust Board there from 1970 to 1987. From 1967 he was physician to the Mary Potter Palliative Care Ward and for a further ten years served as Medical Director of the Mary Potter Hospice.

He served in a variety of capacities as Secretary of the Wellington Division of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), Secretary of the NZMA Education Committee, and Committee Member of the Wellington Cancer Society. He was Chairman of the Wellington Asthma Society from 1972 to 1984, and a Council Member of the NZ Asthma Foundation from 1984 to 1988. He was an active supporter of the RACP and the Thoracic Society of New Zealand.

Geoff was a reliable, careful and caring physician who was widely known and respected in the Wellington community. Geoff was generally imperturbable. He could be disarmingly frank, without ever a hint of malice. He was a gentleman and a gentle man. He earned the accolade to be valued above all else, ‘a good name’.

Geoff's extracurricular activities included playing hockey for Otago University. He served in the Otago University Medical Corp and Territorial Force from 1950 to 1965 where he achieved the rank of Captain. He was a member of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. In 1968 he was ship's doctor on HMNZS Endeavour, supply ship to Antarctica.

In recent years he was a member of his local Probus Club. He enjoyed carpentry and gardening, however his main interest was maintaining close family associations with his children and eleven grandchildren, particularly at the family holiday home in Kenepuru Sound. There Geoff undertook most of the building alterations and enjoyed many happy holidays and regular boating and fishing with a wide range of family and friends. His wife, Judy, died in 2004.

R P G Rothwell

[Reproduced, with permission, from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ College Roll]

(Volume XII, page web)

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