John Baker Boulton FRCS (Eng) FRACS
7 November 1945 – 29 April 2019 

John Boulton was born in Taihape, central North Island, the third son of Edward Clive Boulton and Mary Patricia Reade, the family farming in the King Country south of Te Kuiti.  He had two older brothers, David and Philip.  In 1947 the family shifted to Palmerston North where John commenced school, finishing at Palmerston North Boys’ High School.  There he became involved in rugby, hockey and track events.  During his school years he joined Cubs to be followed by Boy Scouts where he became a Queen’s Scout.  Although greatly interested in the outdoors, flora and fauna, he also spent much time reading his Pear’s Encyclopaedia, adding to his active and enquiring mind.

Schooling completed, John commenced at Otago University in Dunedin where he gained entry to Medical School. He resided at Selwyn College, contributing significantly to the inter-hostel competition in cross-country running and hockey.  He was elected President of the College in 1968 before embarking on his student flatting experiences.  During this time, he was a regular participant in athletics as a member of the Otago Athletic Club. Whilst at Medical School, John joined the Otago University Medical Company (OUMC), an Army Territorial Force, thereby fulfilling his obligations under the National Service scheme.   Enjoying this activity, which on one occasion included parachuting into the Auckland Harbour, he progressed through the ranks to Captain.  When the New Zealand Service Medical Team operating in Vietnam offered three-month rotations to OUMC personnel, John volunteered and was selected and in 1970 spent a month attached to the 1st Australian Field Hospital in Vung Tau before joining the NZ Services Team at Bong Son for the remaining 2 months. Back in New Zealand he served in the 2nd Field Hospital before being posted as the Regimental Medical Officer of 5th Battalion. 

Gaining his MB ChB in 1971, John spent two years as house surgeon at the Palmerston North Hospital and remained there as surgical registrar during 1974-75.  A retired senior nursing administrator during that era recalled John as being a very approachable, truthful, forthright doctor who was always a good listener.  Furthering his surgical career, he travelled to England in 1976, initially residing at London House while attending the Primary FRCS Course.  Successfully completing the part one FRCS exam, he was appointed to a post at St Albans Hospital (North London) working with the then President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Obtaining the FRCSEng in 1977, John trained in Urology at Bristol. He was appointed as registrar and spent 3 years at Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Infirmary Urology Unit, followed by short spells at the Oxford Renal Transplant Unit and the Leeds General Infirmary.    Soon after his arrival in England, he met Lissie, a professional musician, and they were married in 1978.

John, with Lissie, returned to New Zealand in 1980 when he was invited to take up a post as Surgical Tutor Specialist at Auckland Hospital. He was soon appointed to a consultant position and in 1982 he completed his FRACS(Urology). A strong believer in the Public Hospital system, John was a compassionate surgeon committed to the patients under his care.  He believed in finding the best outcome for the patient, rather than focussing excessively on the medical problem.  He enjoyed sharing his skill and experience with others in the urological field. Using his Bristol experiences, he introduced the use of urodynamics to the Auckland urology service. In 1995, with colleagues Jon Cadwallader and Roger Chambers he participated in developing a limited private practice at Urology 161 in Auckland. 

Once settled in Auckland John and Lissie had a family of four children - Charles, Katy, Rachel and Samuel. John passed his love of the outdoors to his children and with them enjoyed hiking, skiing and water sports. He pursued his love of forestry by joining Amakiwi, a group of families actively involved in developing a 150 hectare forest in the Waikaretu Valley.

John, caring and gentle, a committed Christian with a timeless smile, retired from his Auckland commitments in 2011 and he and Lissie moved to Katikati to live.  There he continued his passion for the outdoors with the purchase of an avocado orchard. Lissie’s quote - ”he was never happier or more content in life than when he was in the orchard with a chainsaw”. He continued in urological practice part-time as a visiting surgeon to Tairawhiti Hospital (Gisborne) until the time of his death. His professional commitment to this hospital and the area has been much appreciated and will be greatly missed.

John is survived by and greatly missed by his wife Lissie, their four children Charles, Katy, Rachel and Sam, four grandchildren, and his brothers, Philip and David.


This obituary was compiled with considerable help from Mr Jon Cadwallader FRACS, Lissie Boulton and other members of the Boulton family.