Michael Nee: Much-loved dentist who built up a successful Harley Street practice

Michael Nee was a man so full of life and its joys that his sudden and unexpected death from a pulmonary embolism left his family and countless friends not only heart-broken but incredulous. Born in Athlone in the centre of Ireland in 1942, he was brought up with a close awareness of his country's recent history, and was a warm, shrewd and witty commentator on the life, politics and literature of his native country. He was an outstanding schoolboy athlete, winning the Irish schoolboy sprint championship, and holding the Connaught long jump record for 30 years, as well as playing rugby as a fleet-footed fly-half at the highest schoolboy and university levels.

After qualifying as a dentist at University College Dublin in 1967 (the many friends he made there were friends for life, and the source of innumerable hilarious anecdotes, inimitably recounted) he became part of that diaspora of 1960s-educated Irish only too glad to escape from the suffocating orthodoxies of their homeland at the time. Late-'60s London was another thing altogether, and Michael savoured its pleasures to the full, along with many fellow countrymen and a growing circle of English friends who were quick to love his wit and warmth. He was a peerless raconteur, never afraid to tell a familiar joke as a new one. "It's the way you tell 'em," as he could justifiably claim.

He joined a National Health dental practice in Edmonton, which he soon took over and built up to one of the largest in London, opening a Harley Street practice in 1986. It was a very busy one, friends becoming patients and patients becoming friends. Behind his warm, engagingly theatrical manner at work lay an up-to-date, dedicated, supremely skilled and sympathetic professional, devotedly supported by his practice manager and assistant of many years, Paula Brennan.

Outside his work the centre of his world was his family – his wife of 41 years, Ragnhild, and his sons, Gervase (who will follow him in the dental practice), Patrick and Marcus. Each night Michael could look forward to the product of Ragnhild's outstanding culinary skills; for many years she combined care of the home and children with helping manage the practice. The elder two boys inherited his love of food and golf – family games were competitive affairs, the ferocity softened by Michael's wit. They are, along with Ragnhild, and as Michael was, superb skiers. Marcus's learning difficulties showed Michael at his tenderest, indulging his son's passion for deafening clubs by taking him on late-night weekend visits to the noisiest ones; they soon became the doormen's favourites.

The number, range and (to his envious friends) the sheer number of his holidays, long and short, were remarkable; he was an infallible guide to the best new restaurants. Loyal to the ones he liked, inventive in his buying of good wine, the most joyous of golfing companions, and sound guide to new books and theatre – he had broad and well-informed cultural interests, which enriched his conversation, while his Irish education had left him with an astonishing amount of poetry he had by heart.

Few find so much in life to enjoy, spread so much joy around them, and leave so many so saddened by their going. Michael was one of that blessed band. His funeral at St Joseph's, Highgate, overflowed with those mourning the premature loss of such a treasure.

Michael Nee, dentist: born Athlone, Ireland 7 September 1943; married Ragnhild (three sons); died 20 April 2011.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker