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Peter Jeffery

( 1943 –  2015)

        and another from his friend John Wolfe.

           Peter Jeffery was a lion. He had effortless authority and leadership but also a booming sense of humour and gentle charm. A patriot, he passionately believed in the future of South Africa and despised apartheid. 

                   Peter was born and brought up in Stellenbosch and Cape Town on his parents farm, where he returned a few years ago with Muffy to join his brother Roy. 

                   He met Muffy when she was on a school hockey tour and he on a school rugby tour. Her parents were unimpressed by the prospect of marriage to a callow and penniless medical student but his charm won them over. They were married for 48 years.

                   His early surgical career centred on Groote Schuur Hospital where he was influenced by the great Jannie Louw and developed an interest in vascular surgery under Ed Immelmann.On Immelmann’s retirement he was invited to become Head of Department, a rare honour for someone in private practice. His enthusiastic teaching and inspiration of young surgeons was unsurpassed . He was President of Association of Surgeons 1998-99 and made an Honorary Life President of ASSA. Always innovative , he championed Vascular Ultrasound and Endovascular intervention . His foresight with computerised records and programming were well ahead of his time even if if this led to some glitches in his own complex programmes. 

                    Peter and Muffy came to AIVS every year and sometimes brought their children Colin and Lucie, both of whom now have their own children. Peter would probably say that his proudest moment at AIVS was when Lucie and Colin led a choir of the young  through the new South African National Anthem  “Nkosi Sikele Africa “ soon after Mandela became President. There were tears in his eyes.

                     A stylish and accomplished skier, he was never happier than when attacking a couloir but nevertheless had time to nurse more timid friends down the slopes. His table at dinner was always highly animated with  a cacophony of conversation from all ages  and nationalities. 

                     His presentations at AIVS reflected his practicality but also his pride in the many significant contributions made by South African surgeons. No one did more to further the international  exchange of ideas and lasting AIVS friendships. 

                     When his heart started to give trouble he brushed aside the difficulties and continued to ski. Eventually surgery became inevitable and his courage, when dialysis and increasing immobility shrunk his horizons, was an example to us all.

                                         John Wolfe