Isle of Wight pathology pioneer John Smith has died at age of 82

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Dr John Smith.
Dr John Smith.

Tributes have been paid following the death of Dr John Smith, at the age of 82.

John, who had retired as a consultant in chemical pathology and metabolic medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight, died peacefully in his sleep on May 3.

John developed and modernised the IW pathology department.

He worked tirelessly to ensure its high standards of success.

Close friends and colleagues said John’s contribution could not be overstated.

One colleague said: “It was a privilege to have worked with him and learnt so much from him. His leadership, wisdom and clinical expertise will be missed by all."

He also served as the director of pathology for a time.

He was integral in establishing and developing the diabetes and endocrinology unit at St Mary’s Hospital alongside his colleague Dr Arun Baksi, and was well recognised for his work in osteoporosis.

John was renowned for working collaboratively with a wide range of clinical and laboratory staff.

He was unafraid to voice his beliefs on potentially controversial topics.

John started as a medical officer with the Royal Air Force.

After graduating from Leeds University Medical School during which he was awarded a scholarship to read for an inter-calculated honours BSC in micro-anatomy, he later was offered a place at Oxford University to complete his studies.

He went on to complete his preliminary house appointments at Bath and Northampton, which is where he met his future wife, Anthea.

Their courtship was interrupted when John joined the Royal Air Force with an initial appointment at the Khormaksar Beach Hospital in Aden, during the conflict there.

On his return to England, John and Anthea married and started their family of four children.

John continued his postings both overseas, in Cyprus and Germany, and at units in the UK, reaching the rank of wing commander before leaving to join the National Health Service in 1982 on the Island.

His initial appointment was as a consultant in metabolic medicine at St Mary’s, later obtaining his Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathology.

He was also an honorary lecturer at Southampton University and represented committees and working groups

Although it was a huge part of his life, John’s ambitions were not limited to medicine.

He had a love of sailing, reading, carpentry, model engineering and music, and was an accomplished pianist.

John also obtained his private pilot’s licence and enjoyed many a flight in his beloved aircraft, Snoopy.

John leaves his wife, children Tracey, Laura and Penny, grandchildren Shaun, Celia, Matthew, Andrew, Gretel, Clara and Oscar, and recently born great-grandchild, Elizabeth.

He joins his eldest child and son Christopher, who tragically lost his life five years previously.

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