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Biographical entry Kelly, John (1902 - 1973)

MRCS and FRCS 1931; MB BCh BAO National University of Ireland 1925.

5 December 1973
General surgeon and Neurosurgeon


John Kelly was born in Bombay in 1902, the son of an army officer. He was educated in Ireland, proceeding to the University College Cork for the medical course and graduating with the MB of the National University of Ireland in 1925, having won a clinical prize in surgery and the Blayney Scholarship. He then spent ten years in England, first in house appointments which gave him a wide experience in general surgery and enabled him to obtain the Fellowship in 1931, and later, having developed a special interest in neurosurgery, he spent two years at the London Hospital with Hugh Cairns.

In 1935 Kelly returned to Cork, hoping to practise neurosurgery there, but as this was not then possible he worked as a general surgeon to St Finbarr's Hospital, the Mercy Hospital, and the Bon Secours Nursing Home. He was also appointed lecturer in surgery at University College Cork in 1955 and continued in that post till he retired in 1970, gaining a great reputation as a stimulating teacher of both undergraduate and postgraduate students. His surgical skill, his teaching ability, and his sterling character were all deeply appreciated by his colleagues and his patients.

John Kelly enjoyed sport, especially cricket, and as he married Dr Alice Glanville who was a keen gardener, he became interested with her in developing a beautiful garden, with many special shrubs and trees. It was unfortunate that after his retirement at the age of 65 a long illness prevented the full enjoyment of these interests, and he died on 5 December 1973 at the age of 71. His wife and their eight children, three of them doctors, survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1974, 1, 124; Lancet 1974, 1, 139].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England