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Biographical entry Evans, Ivan Tom Gwenogfryn (1938 - 2006)

MRCS and FRCS 1969; MB BCh Wales 1962; LRCP 1969.

7 November 1938
London, UK
September 2006
ENT surgeon


Ivan Tom Gwenogfryn Evans, known to colleagues, friends and patients as ‘Og’, was a consultant surgeon in Newport, Gwent. He was born in London on 11 November 1938, in a house between Battersea Power Station and the Dogs Home. His parents Evan Evans and Margaret née Jones were Welsh and kept a family general store. Like many other children living in the heart of the capital at the time of the Blitz, the infant Og was evacuated to an aunt in west Wales and when time and circumstances permitted after the war he was joined by his parents, who returned permanently to Wales to live near Newcastle Emlyn in Cardiganshire. He was educated at the local Aberbanc Primary School and Llandysul Grammar School, and then won a place at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff in 1957, where for a time he trained with Cardiff City Football Club. He did house officer posts in Cardiff, where he married his childhood sweetheart, Marion, who was a teacher in Cardiff. He trained in general surgery before selection for a training post in ENT in Cardiff.

His mentors in ENT were Hector and Alun Thomas, and he especially enjoyed the variety of surgical skills in this specialty, whether it was the exacting microsurgery of the middle ear or the use of the knife in the head and neck. Also in Cardiff was Stephen Richards who had worked with Hal Schucknecht in Boston. He persuaded Og to take up a fellowship in Detroit in 1974 with Ted McGee, one of the doyens of ear surgery at that time. His appointment was to the Providence Hospital, Southfield, Michigan. This proved to be a very fulfilling professional experience for Og and a happy year for Og, Marion and their young son, Andrew. After a year they returned to Cardiff and Og was appointed consultant surgeon in Gwent with appointments at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, Nevill Hall in Abergavenny, and Pontypool and District Hospital.

At the Royal Gwent he established a first class otological service for the county of Gwent in collaboration with audiology colleagues Gavin Davies and Ann Thomas. Due to his wide training he was an all-round surgeon in his specialty and was as comfortable with delicate ear surgery as with the demands of major head and neck work. He was widely read and meticulously conscientious in his standards and care for patients, and he enjoyed teaching, so that he attracted trainees. He was appointed College surgical tutor for ENT in south Wales. His colleagues elected him chairman of the Gwent Medical Society and he served for several years with distinction as secretary to the Welsh Otolaryngological Society.

He enjoyed family life with Marion, and especially their grandson Dylan, in their favourite location, Newport Pembrokeshire, where they had a second home. Og was passionately proud of his Welsh language and heritage. A practical man, he did all the do-it-yourself jobs around the house and, until the advent of electronics, serviced his cars himself. He had been a keen cricketer and continued to follow soccer. Og had a remarkable gift of communication with people and could speak as easily and kindly to a child as to an old person. He died in September 2006 from metastatic cancer of the pancreas that only revealed itself two months before his death.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England