Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 03-April-2009, Vol 122 No 1292
Geoffrey Bruce Kiddle
3 May 1925–14 November 2008; BSc MB ChB NZ (1953) MRACP (1957) FRACP (1972) MRCP (1959) FRCP (1980)
Geoffrey Bruce (Geoff) Kiddle was born in Wellington, son of Walter Kiddle (an engineer) and his wife Angie (nee Wright). He had three siblings, Reginald Kiddle (chartered accountant), Kenneth Kiddle (orchardist), and Wilfred (Bill) Kiddle, a 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 where he successfully passed all examinations over the next 4 years.
He subsequently spent the sixth year (1953) and two house surgeon years at Wellington Hospital after graduating MB ChB at the end of
In 1955 he married Judith Ann (Judy) Booker, a registered nurse, in Wellington. Judy was the daughter of Tom and Alma Booker, who had a long-standing association with the Rothwell family.
Geoff raised a family of 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 which was followed by success at the MRACP examination, and a year of GP locums during which Paula was born. Geoff, Judy, and Paula then embarked by sea for England on a Port Line Ship in 1959. He attended the postgraduate course in medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, and was successful in passing the MRCP (London). Two years of medical registrarships followed at the Whittington and University College Hospitals, gaining useful general medical experience.
On 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) where he also served on the Trust Board from 1970 to 1987. From 1967 he was physician to the Mary Potter Palliative Care Ward and for a further 10 years served as Medical Director of the Mary Potter Hospice.
Geoff served in a variety of capacities as Secretary of the Wellington Division of the NZMA, Secretary of the NZMA Education Committee, and Committee Member of the Wellington Cancer Society. He had a particular interest as Committee Member and Chairman of the Wellington Asthma Society (1972 to 1984), and as a Council Member of the NZ Asthma Foundation (1984 to 1988).In addition, he was a regular attender and active supporter of meetings of the RACP, and the Thoracic Society of New Zealand.
Throughout his clinical career, Geoff was a reliable, careful, and caring physician who was widely known and respected in the Wellington community. His extra curricular activities included playing hockey for Otago University and serving 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 and he was a member of his local Probus Club in recent years.
Geoff enjoyed carpentry and gardening, but his main interests encompassed close family associations with his children and eleven grandchildren, particularly at the family holiday home in Kenepuru Sound. It was there that 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.
He and Judy were regular attenders at the “class of 1953“ reunions and her death in November 2004 was a severe blow from which he never really recovered.
He attended subsequent class reunions in 2006 in Christchurch and in 2008 in Auckland where he was supported by son, Bruce, and enjoyed the meeting with old friends despite his general physical disability.
Geoff was generally imperturbable. He could be disarmingly frank, without ever a hint of malice. He was a gentleman, and a gentle man. He was farewelled by a large attendance of family and friends at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Wellington, on 19 November 2008.
Peter Rothwell wrote this obituary.
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