On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.102 n.8 Cape Town Aug. 2012
John Leslie Eidelman
It is with great sadness that we record the passing of Dr John Eidelman (14/12/1936 - 5/11/2011), general practitioner, Magaliesberg. How does one encapsulate the life of a dedicated doctor and family man whose presence, personality and multi-talented skills touched so many? Perhaps these words penned by Angela, his loving wife, and read at his funeral on 11/11/2011 do just that:
'Today the number one appears on day and month and time
Hence it seems a special reason and purpose for this rhyme
One man in this community has served his fellows well
He did his best for fifty years ... so much that I could tell.
Not orthodox in any way, a maverick man was he
No white coats, injection trays, no fancy surgery.
Quite often when he examined folk there were no snow white sheets
But on the bed were muddy paws and dogs who lay asleep.
He was always trusted for his knowledge and his care
One man you could depend on for always being there.
One man whose diagnosis whether medical or not
Could always fix just anything - he never lost the plot.
One man who always listened and forgot to eat his meals
One man who shared in others' pain and knew how sorrow feels
One man who for thirty years gave Boys Town so much care
Whenever I looked for him I knew that he was there
He was by no means a social man, in fact he was quite shy
He'd feed the birds and build his boat and let the world go by.
We were blessed with children three, and grandchildren four
We have had our three score years and ten, so who could ask for more
He loved his children oh so much, always mindful of their needs
They have followed in his footsteps and show this by their deeds
They stood by him, were there for him until the time he died
They did their very utmost, just everything they tried.
His passion was for animals and places that were wild.
Although a complicated man, he lived life like a child
He never would have left the farm, or stopped the work he loved
So a decision made for him was from the One above.
So how can we question or ask the reason why
The one on earth we loved so much is with One on high.'
John Eidelman followed in the footsteps of his father and graduated MB ChB from the medical school of the University of the Witwatersrand. He married Angela Knight, nursing sister and artist, on 15 November 1961 and they settled on their farm 'The Spinneys' in the Magaliesberg area. It was from here that John practised as a general practitioner and where their family grew up. For the greater part of his life, John was the honorary medical practitioner to Boys Town.
Aside from being a diagnostician of repute, John was blessed with creative talents which ranged from woodcarving to motor bike building, from photography to assembling hi-fi amplifiers; you name it - John could fix it or make it. He even built his own stethoscope. Although his hands and mind were always busy, he had time to listen and heal. He was a special man and will not be forgotten.
We extend our condolences to his loving wife Angela, daughters Sarah and Samantha, son Rory, sons-in-law Dirk and Tony, and grandchildren Meagan, John, Hannah and Olivia.
Irvine J Eidelman