Lives of the fellows

Oliver Westby Chapman

b.29 September 1912 d.26 May 2003
MB ChB Otago(1937) FRACP(1959) FRCP(1970)

Oliver Westby Chapman, known as ‘Oli’ to his family and friends, was born in Dunedin where his father, Herbert Chapman, served for 37 years as registrar of Otago University. His mother was Grace Louise Shepherd before her marriage.

Oliver Chapman was educated at Otago Boys High School and Otago University where he won blues for rugby, tennis and shooting. He also played in the New Zealand Universities Rugby Tour of Japan in 1935.

Following his graduation in medicine Dr Chapman was a house surgeon at Wellington Hospital before leaving for England in 1939. The war years were spent working for the Emergency Medical Services in the London area. In 1945 and 1946 he was a registrar at the London Chest Hospital (Victoria Park) before returning to Dunedin as assistant physician to the medical unit. During his time in England he passed the MRCP examination and in 1940 he married his New Zealand fiancee, Claire Longmore.

Oliver Chapman remained in Dunedin in consulting practice and as a visiting physician to the Otago Hospital Board. He had special interests in cardiovascular disease and haematology and was a senior lecturer both to the medical and dental schools. In his mid career Dr Chapman became involved with the problems of the elderly and disabled and was associated with the development of a geriatric assessment unit at the Wakari Hospital. He was elected FRCP in 1970, having become FRACP in 1959. He was assiduous in his attendance at college meetings.

He served terms as president of the Otago branch of the BMA and of both the Otago University and the Otago football clubs. He had courtly bearing and will be remembered as a gentleman with impeccable standards. In his retirement to Frankton he nursed his wife during a long illness before her death in 1997. He walked his dog and played golf into his eighties, scoring a hole in one at 87. He is survived by a son and daughter.

J M Tweed

[Otago Daily Times 17 May 2003; Obituary reproduced, with permission, from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ College Roll]

(Volume XII, page web)

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