Obituary: Ralph Johnson

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The Independent Online
Ralph Hudson Johnson, neurologist: born Sunderland 3 December 1933; Dean, St Peter's College, Oxford 1965- 68; Lecturer in Neurology, Oxford University 1967-68; Senior Lecturer in Neurology, Glasgow University, and Warden, Queen Margaret Hall 1968-77; FRSE 1976; Professor of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago 1977-87; Director, Postgraduate Medical Education and Training, Oxford University 1987-93; Honorary Consultant Physician and Neurologist, Oxford Regional Health Authority 1987-93; Professorial Fellow, Wadham College, Oxford 1987-93; married 1970 Gillian Sydney (nee Keith; one son, one daughter); died Oxford 1 July 1993.

HAPPILY, the post of Director of Postgraduate Medical Education at Oxford is combined with a Professorial Fellowship at Wadham College, writes Sir Claus Moser. And so Ralph Johnson was in our midst for the last seven years. Characteristically, he devoted himself to the college almost as if he had no other duties. From the outset, he involved himself in our academic, organisational and social activities, always willing to take on college responsibilities such as committees and an active membership of the governing body. His approach was invariably innovative, tough and outspoken and we gained much from him.

Above all, for three crucial years he agreed to direct the college's Development Appeal. Here his incredible verve and energy, coupled with an unquenchable optimism, found full outlet. At times it seemed almost incredible that he managed to put in so much time on this appeal whilst performing all his other duties. But, as with many busy men, time never seemed to be in short supply. Nor did he allow the occasional disappointments inseparable with a fund-raising task to discourage him. He was forever optimistic. Occasionally I would suggest that a particular approach or target was over-ambitious. This concept had little meaning for Ralph. A particular target might seem almost unreachable, but for him this simply meant one had to spend more effort and time to reach it. And so it came about that, in large measure due to his determination, Wadham has achieved some very substantial developments.

In this, and in much else, he set us an example by his continuing vitality and unstoppable determination. He added to our collegiate energy and liveliness, and for me it was a constant pleasure to work and be with him.

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