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Biographical entry Garber, Nathan (1902 - 1986)

MRCS and FRCS 1938; BSc Witwatersrand 1923; MB BCh 1925.

2 June 1902
11 November 1986
General surgeon


Nathan (Sonny) Garber, the son of Joel Garber, a hotel manager, and of Sara (née Efroiken), was born on 2 June 1902 in Lithuania. He was the oldest of seven children, with four brothers and two sisters, the family having migrated to South Africa in 1904. His early education was at Normal College School, Cape Town, and at Grey College School, Bloemfontein, where he began studying medicine at the age of 16 still wearing short trousers - hence his nickname "Sonny". He entered the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1923. After graduating in 1925 there is no information about the next few years; but, in 1931, he was house surgeon to the ENT department at Birmingham General Hospital; house surgeon to the casualty department of the same hospital in 1932, and later resident surgical officer at East Ham Memorial Hospital in 1937. During his time in England he especially recorded his indebtedness to Mr Leather, in Birmingham, and Reginald Ledlie in London. He passed the final FRCS in 1938.

On returning to South Africa he became surgical registrar at the Johannesburg General Hospital where he started a varicose vein clinic. In 1948 he was invited to join the International College of Surgeons and to deliver a paper in Rome on varicose veins. He then spent the rest of his life as a general surgeon but there is no record of his hospital appointments. Nat was a kind and considerate colleague who always turned up for work dressed very smartly, complete with hat. He was well versed in both English and Afrikaans, and in history. He contributed articles on the anatomy and treatment of varicose veins. Outside his professional work he was keen on tennis and continued to play until two years before his death. He married his wife Sonya in 1939 and they had two daughters. When he died, aged 84, on 11 November 1986 he was survived by his wife and daughters.

Sources used to compile this entry: [S Afr med J 1988, 73, 321 with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England