Kenneth Margolis was born on 1 May 1936 in Cape Town, 20 minutes before his twin brother, Frank. He later specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology. After a long illness, he died on 12 July 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.
Kenneth was known to his family, friends, students and colleagues as an enthusiastic mentor and a great, inspiring teacher. As his friends and respectful colleagues, we are honoured by the opportunity to pay homage to Kenneth.
After finishing school with excellent academic grades at the very young age of 16, he studied medicine at UCT and qualified at the age of 21 with Frank, as the youngest graduates ever, at that stage. Following his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1959, Kenneth went into general practice in Van der Bijl Park from 1960 until 1969. He specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Natal and King Edward VIII Hospital. After qualification, he took up a full-time academic appointment at the University of Natal, from 1973 to 1975, where he was appointed Acting Head of the Department in 1974. Even after entering private practice, he never abandoned his love for teaching, and stayed on as a part-time lecturer until 1988, when he returned to Cape Town to take up an academic post at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, firstly as a specialist and later as a senior and principal specialist.
During his time at Stellenbosch University from 1988 to 1996, we got to know him well as a colleague and friend. He very much enjoyed teaching and always went out of his way to accommodate his students. He meticulously organised all the rosters for the lectures, practical work and examinations. As an academic, with a continuous desire to learn and acquire more knowledge, he always participated actively in all scientific meetings and clinical discussions.
In 1996 he was invited to accept a post as Associate Professor at Logan Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. There he soon advanced to Acting Director and later Director. Even after retirement, he continued with a part-time teaching appointment at the hospital.
His health later deteriorated, and he had to have renal dialysis for 6 years. However, this did not reduce his enthusiasm for life as he enjoyed reading interesting books, watched good movies and tried not to miss televised cricket and rugby games, especially when the Sharks, Stormers, Springboks and Proteas were playing.
Kenneth lost his first wife after a tragic car accident. He later married June Harvey, a mother of 4 children (Jennifer, Peter, David and Laureen). She was a true mother to his two boys, Jack and Ian. We well recall how June went out of her way to support the Jewish faith of Kenneth and his boys, and Catholicism for herself and her children. They had a very happy life for 45 years until June died on 24 June 2010.
The fact that Jack and Ian both studied medicine (Jack is a gynaecologist and Ian developed his career in family medicine) as did 2 of June’s children (Jennifer and Peter), illustrates Kenneth’s passion for medicine which he transferred to the children.
Kenneth is survived by his 6 loving children and 11
grandchildren. His family and colleagues will always remember
him as a warm, enthusiastic person who was dedicated to
improving the standard of teaching and the practice of medicine.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University
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