Theo Berkowitz, MB BCh, FRCS (Edin), FRCS (Glasg) (3 February 1929-3 July 2016).
Born in Heidelberg, Transvaal, in 1929, Theo was the son of immigrants from Russia and Latvia. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1952, having completed a year of a BA as well as his medical degree.
After his marriage to Rae Hochman in 1960, they sailed to England where he worked in London, Cambridge and Liverpool, following his interest in orthopaedics.
Theo and Rae returned to Johannesburg after the birth of their second child in 1963. They moved to East London in 1965 when Theo took up a post at Frere Hospital. He maintained a part-time position as consultant at the Frere as well as a private practice for over 52 years. He was still attending weekly orthopaedic outpatient clinics at the Frere and taking on medicolegal work at the age of 87, only weeks before his death.
Theo enjoyed sport. He played first-team baseball at Wits, and in later years represented Border in interprovincial veterans' squash. He was an adventurer, a hiker and a cyclist, and participated in the Argus Cycle Tour in 1992. He loved tennis (and his tennis friends) and played regularly until very shortly before his death, when his health deteriorated significantly.
Theo was known for his love of classical music and art, and his passion for Persian rugs--he was an avid collector. He was active in the Jewish community and a Rotarian. Those close to him will remember him for his generosity and humility. He believed deeply in giving, generously and often anonymously. We have been both overwhelmed and comforted by the warm wishes and stories of his generosity from friends, patients and strangers since his death.
His children and grandchildren remember him for his unconditional love. He taught us the wisdom of listening, of brevity of speech, and to speak of others 'only when you have something good to say about them'. He was the true centre and rock of the family after Rae died in 2007. They had been married for 47 years.
Theo showed incredible strength and stoicism in health and in sickness. He remains an inspiration to his three children, Mark, Linda and Gail, and his grandchildren, Jessye, Asher, Jason and Jenna.
We thought he would live to at least 120, and miss him terribly.
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|Publication:||SAMJ South African Medical Journal|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2017|
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