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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.100 n.1 Pretoria Jan. 2010




Ian Saxton (02/01/1939 - 17/11/2009)



Alf Kettles




We met Ian in 1975 when I started my internship at Frere Hospital, where he had been in the Department of Orthopaedics for nearly 10 years. Our close family friendship with Ian continued and strengthened over 35 years.

As the son of a medical missionary, Ian spent much of his youth in Angola and later in the then Bechuanaland. He qualified at Witwatersrand University. He completed his internship at Frere Hospital, East London, where he spent his entire working life up to his retirement – in the Department of Orthopaedics for 25 years and in the Casualty Department for another 10 years. With the increasing stresses of his latter working years at Frere, he took early retirement in 1998.

Ian often stated that he did not go to work in a mission hospital as Frere was his mission, where he regularly distributed Bibles. He showed by example and hard work just what the Lord meant to him in his work and life. Even in his last days, when still able to speak, he told others about the love of God. He was much loved.

Early retirement for Ian did not mean sitting in an armchair and watching the world pass by. On the contrary, he had a wonderful time working in and exploring Australia for a total of 18 months. His first stint in Ireland was in 2002, when Ian and his wife, Yvonne, stayed for a year, and then returned annually. His last visit to Ireland was in 2009, returning only to go straight into the ICU. We had the privilege of visiting with Ian and Yvonne many times in Ireland.

An aspect of Ian's personality that I shall never forget was his ability to make friends – and he had friends all over the world. He maintained these friendships through regular letter writing and, where possible, visiting. He will be missed by many people. Their children and grandchildren were the pride of his life, and he told everyone he could about them.

No-one will remember him without thinking of Holden motor cars. He and Yvonne and their two children travelled over most of South Africa and the then Rhodesia with the same cars and caravan they have now. Old cars were his passion, and he would spend much of his spare time exploring old scrapyards, taking photos of various cars of interest to him and collecting parts for his son to use in his own restoration programme back home. His luggage on return from overseas invariably had spare parts that he could not obtain in South Africa.

Our last months in Ireland were stressful, watching Ian's health and strength slowly ebb away. He did not have the reserves to fight the last major infection. We shall miss him – I shall miss him. We rejoice in our assurance is that he is now totally healed, alive with his Saviour with no illness or frailty, and encourage his family to hold onto the very special memories they have of him at this difficult time.

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