George Jersy Schweitzer FRACS
12 May 1936 - 2 January 2013
Orthopaedic Surgeon

George Schweitzer was born on 14 May 1936 in Poland to Max and Anita. His father was Polish, his mother was from Austria.

After the Second World War, the family left Poland via France before settling in Australia when George was still a young boy. He did well at University High School in Melbourne and in 1955 entered the University of Melbourne to study medicine. He graduated in 1960 with honours in surgery. George was very popular in medical school and had many friends. He was a resident medical officer at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne and surgical registrar at the Royal Melbourne Hospital when he obtained his FRACS.

George was a good sportsman and excelled at football playing for Hawthorn in the AFL. He was also a keen cricketer and water polo player.

He was groomsman for Alexander and Margaret Spiers in 1960 and for David and Sally Dammery in 1962. In 1961 he married Fay with whom he had two sons. That marriage ended in divorce.

He went to South Africa in 1967 and studied orthopaedics at the Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg and at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. His particular interest lay in trauma and tuberculosis of the spine.

In South Africa, he married Jennifer Verster-Cohen who was registrar in paediatrics at Baragwanath Hospital. George was also a great linguist. He spoke Polish and German at home and eventually spoke eleven languages, some more fluently than others. In South Africa, he studied Afrikaans and Zulu attending the University of Natal to further his studies of Zulu.

When the family moved to Durban in Kwazulu Natal, in addition to his private practice, George flew to outlying hospitals, in particular to Kokstad, landing on a friend's farm. He would work until the last moment then fly back to Durban just before dark. He did this for many years before retiring from practice in 2002. His knowledge of Zulu was of great value as he helped many Zulu speaking patients.

George died peacefully after a long illness on 2 January 2013.

He is survived by Jennifer and his children; Paul and Michael from his first marriage, both living in Australia and by his three children from his second marriage, George Christopher who now lives in Cape Town and Thandi and Victoria who both live in Vancouver, Canada.

Obituary provided by Dr Jennifer Verster-Cohen; Dr David Dammery; Dr Alexander Spiers.