Lives of the fellows

Rhys Tudor Williams

b.29 April 1927 d.4 March 2014
MB BChir Cantab(1951) MRCP(1957) FRCP(1972)

Rhys Tudor Williams, a consultant physician for the North East Manchester Hospitals Group, was an accomplished teacher and physician in general, renal and metabolic medicine with many and varied extracurricular interests. He was born in Rhos, north Wales, the son of Tudor Williams, a grammar school headmaster, and Anne Williams née Rees. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen, and then Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and University College Hospital (UCH). He qualified in 1951.

After house jobs at UCH, he spent two years in the RAF as a medical officer. He returned to junior posts at UCH, Brompton Hospital and St Mary’s and then went to Manchester as a senior medical registrar to Douglas Black [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.62], spending one year of his training as a Nuffield scholar at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas. In 1965 he was appointed as a consultant physician with a special interest in renal and metabolic diseases to the North East Manchester Hospital Group, where he remained until his retirement. Principal publications were on renal disease and clinical disturbances of serum sodium and potassium levels.

He took an active part in undergraduate and postgraduate education. He was undergraduate clinical tutor for the North Manchester District for many years, an examiner in medicine at the University of Manchester and a regular contributor to Crumpsall Hospital’s (later North Manchester General Hospital’s) annual courses for part two of the membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians. He was an honorary lecturer in medicine to Manchester and Salford universities.

He was secretary of the section of medicine of the Manchester Medical Society from 1976 to 1978 and president of the Society from 1983 to 1984. He was also president of the Middleton and North Manchester Medical Society and of the Manchester Medico-Ethical Association, and chairman of the John Rylands University Library committee.

At a regional level, he was a member of the specialist training group in medicine from 1973 to 1983, and of the medical and dental staff training committee from 1983 to 1987.

He was a member of the Renal Association and the International Society of Nephrology.

He actively participated in RCP affairs. He was a member of council from 1989 to 1990, deputy regional adviser for the northwest region from 1985 to 1987 and regional adviser from 1987 to 1990. He was a frequent member of the general professional training teams visiting hospitals throughout the UK.

He retired from his consultant post in 1991 and thereafter enthusiastically undertook a series of non-clinical roles, including medical director of the Mancunian Community Health NHS Trust, before retiring (finally) in 1997.

Rhys was a skilful teacher of great precision and clarity, but above all was an accomplished physician. For his junior staff he was an excellent role model particularly in conducting a ward round with a mixture of astute diagnostic skill, respect and consideration for his patients, humour and warmth. For the same reasons he was admired and respected by his colleagues. His personal charm and cogent opinions led to his appointment to many committees and organisations. Despite the pressures of general medicine, he retained a keen interest in, and profound understanding of, renal and metabolic medicine.

He was a keen sportsman, playing tennis, cricket and rugby in his youth and continuing to play tennis and later golf as long as he was able. He was an enthusiastic gardener, tending his garden even when his health was in decline.

He married Sheila Osmond, a violinist, in 1951. He became very involved with the musical life of Manchester, serving as chairman of the Goldberg Ensemble and was a committed supporter of the Manchester Camerata, in which Sheila played. He was one of the consultant staff at Ancoats Hospital, Manchester, who ensured that L S Lowry’s painting ‘Outpatients’ hall’ was preserved for the city and now hangs in the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Predeceased by a sister and a brother, Sir David Glyndwr Tudor Williams, an eminent academic lawyer who became vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, Rhys Tudor Williams was survived by his wife, daughter Jane and two grandchildren.

Howard Klass

[Manchester Collection Archives, University of Manchester Library]

(Volume XII, page web)

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