Obituary - Dr Alistair Graeme Marshall

Dr Alistair Graeme Marshall


Alistair was born at Hastings, North Island, New Zealand (Hawks Bay). He went to school in Christchurch and Hastings and Otago University in Dunedin. He studied for a science degree originally as he planned to become a teacher but converted to medicine. He lived as a medical student with a group of male students, who went on to become known as the “Toads” and became lifelong friends (their house was called Toad Hall).

He set off for the UK sailing with two friends after he’d spent some time working in Auckland hospitals. On reaching northern Australia they worked in Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory as doctors where Alistair was gored by a buffalo. He sustained a fractured femur and broken ribs. He was airlifted to Melbourne and spent time on a ventilator and had a fat embolism, spending six months in hospital. He re-met his sailing companions in the Seychelles and continued on to the UK.

He started work as a Senior House Officer at the Royal London Hospital in September 1976 and continued most of his training there. He held a fellow’s post at the National Heart Hospital and at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He also spent six months at Toronto Children’s Hospital and six months researching in Birmingham, Alabama.

He was appointed Consultant at the Royal London and the London Chest Hospitals in 1985. He married Margaret Crane in Australia in the same year.

His job plan had many iterations as he was capable of taking on many specialties. His main focus was on Cardio-thoracic and Paediatric Anaesthetics but was also involved in Day Care and Intensive Care as needed. He had a busy private practice. He was College Tutor for a time and eventually became Chairman of the department and on retirement from clinical practice became Clinical Director for Surgery & Anaesthetics.

He fully retired in June 2011 and he and Margaret moved to New Zealand in November 2012.

Alistair was an esteemed and loved colleague. He was a brilliant anaesthetist and obviously really enjoyed his work. He was also very good with trainees. He had a calming influence on the department and was often called in to calm the waters if there was any strife. He was very supportive of the “failing” consultant or trainee. His was a sympathetic ear. He has been described as full of “magic” and “mischief”. All remember his cheeky grin, his winking eyes and his bow tie.

The family lived in Kentish Town, Hampstead Garden Suburb and then Hadley Wood, always with a large garden to indulge his passion for gardening.

They were very much part of the community and the local Church.

He loved moving to Nelson, South Island, New Zealand on retirement.

They had a home on a large site with lovely views. He was able to indulge his love of gardening and especially growing roses.

Alistair and Margaret's youngest daughter Emily died in a car accident in Otago NZ at the beginning of 2012. Oliver, Emily's twin brother, and sister Geraldine ,husband Brian and two grandchildren, Isla and Charlie live in NZ.

Alistair had prostate cancer diagnosed on retirement and died from secondary complications.

Kate Wark
Margaret Marshall

May 2022