Local doctor for two decades



Dr Sydney Rae West, December 11, 1925 – April 25, 2015

Dr Rae West passed away on April 25th, 2015, aged 89.
Many local citizens will know of Rae as he was born and raised in Waiuku, and he returned there to practise medicine as a general practitioner for 22 years.
Rae was the youngest child of four raised on the family farm at Glenbrook.
He attended both Glenbrook and Waiuku Primary schools. He then had his secondary schooling as a boarder at Mt Albert Grammar School, as it was necessary to have studied Latin in order to study medicine in those days.
Rae studied at Otago Medical School, qualifying in 1948. He had met Lilian while in Dunedin and they married that same year, beginning a marriage which was to last for 67 years. Rae worked as a house officer in both Christchurch and Masterton Hospitals before returning to Waiuku in 1951 where he began work as a general practitioner.
Rae always had an ongoing interest in local community activities. He was active in the Camera Club, the Waiuku Yacht Club and always had a strong interest in the history of the Franklin District.
Rae promoted good liaison between local community medical services such as the local ambulance service and the district nurses.
As well as being a country GP in the days of home visits and active obstetric practice in the wider rural area of Waiuku, Rae was always active in national General Practitioner bodies. In 1971, he received a Nuffield Travelling Fellowship, which enabled overseas travel to research in the area of general practice.
In 1972, Rae left Waiuku in order to take up a position in the Otago Medical School as a senior lecturer. This was essentially a research post which extended Rae’s interest in General Practice and Community Health.
He continued his involvement with the NZ College of GPs and with the Medical Council. Rae moved from Dunedin into the Auckland Medical School after four years in Dunedin.
Throughout his life, Rae had many diverse interests.
He wrote a book called ‘A guide to the Trees of New Zealand” which was first published in 1961, and he maintained a strong interest in ecology and sustainability in the natural world.
Latterly, he was a member in his local U3A Ecology group.
Rae was able to draw well and he carved wooden and bone figures as a hobby. He was an avid reader of diverse authors, loved poetry and maintained a strong interest in science throughout his life. He was active in the organisations to which he belonged and was always interested in many people with whom he related in his unassuming way.
Rae was always very much a family man. Rae leaves Lilian, four of their five children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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