General Internal Medicine
Designatory Letters: 
MB Otago 1943, MRCP Edin 1951, FRCP Lond FRACP, FRCP Edin 1975

(Information supplied by Dr D J Gudex, FRCP Edin)

Arthur Coombes was born in Hamilton, New Zealand and throughout his schooling and medical training was an outstanding student and sportsman. Times were hard during the depression of the 1930s and he had to spend his holidays working wherever he could to earn enough to pay his fees.

He did his medical training in the Otago School with a final year in Auckland, the shortage of junior doctors because of the war giving him the chance to gain valuable experience as a junior locum. After house jobs he entered general practice, thoroughly enjoying it whilst always hoping to get higher qualifications and specialise. He then came to the UK, gained his MRCP Edin, then MRCP Lond. before working in the National Heart Hospital, The National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen’s Square, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and finally the Hammersmith, London.

On returning to New Zealand he rejoined the Takapuna practice and also served on the staff of the Green Lane Hospital, the Naval Hospital, Devenport and, as senior physician on a part-time basis in North Shore Hospital.

He served as President of the N Z Medical Association, was a keen Rotarian (honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow), a governor of Takapuna Grammar School and the inaugural director of the Accident Compensation Commission in Auckland for 18 months.

His contribution to medicine was enormous but he was also someone who lived life to the full, enjoying tennis, boating, shooting, fishing, his family of five lively and talented daughters and, above all else, the love and support of his wife, Odine who died in 1990. He later married a widowed friend, Beth Yarnton and enjoyed a happy partnership with her and their children and grandchildren for 17 years.