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Biographical entry Owen, Robert Armstrong Cecil (1914 - 1991)

MRCS and FRCS 1946; MB ChB Liverpool 1938; ChM 1946.

11 December 1914
22 September 1991
General surgeon


Robert Armstrong Cecil Owen was born in Chester on 11 December 1914, the son of Robert Cecil and Lilian Owen, née Armstrong. His father was a pharmacist. He was educated at King's School, Chester, and later at Liverpool University. He qualified MB ChB in 1938 and in 1939 was awarded the Gee fellowship in anatomy. After house officer posts at Bootle Hospital he trained in surgery under Stanley Unsworth as his registrar.

After the second world war he took the Fellowship of the College in 1946 and in the same year he passed the mastership of surgery of Liverpool University. He was appointed general surgeon at Walton Hospital, Liverpool, and worked there for his entire professional life, retiring as senior surgeon. He was essentially a shy man but this shyness concealed a wealth of experience and a superb technique. He was mild-mannered and had sometimes a stammer which made him appear reticent, but he was an extremely kind and compassionate doctor with a catholic experience of all aspects of surgery, and once his reticence had been overcome he was always ready to offer the benefit of this to those less experienced than he. Unashamedly but not rigidly conservative, he liked to quote Pope: 'Be not the first by whom the new are tried/ Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.'

He married Joyce Scholefield on 14 July 1943. She was a fellow student who graduated MB ChB at the same time and became a paediatrician, and they had two sons - Robert, who became a chartered accountant, and Martin, who works as a broker at Lloyds and specialises in fine arts.

Away from his professional work Bob Owen was a keen gardener and a devotee of motor racing and trials driving, when he drove a Dellow Ford. In the heyday of motor racing at Aintree he was chief medical officer of the circuit and later a chief observer for the BARC meetings at Oulton Park.

He died after a long illness on 22 September 1991, survived by his wife and family.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 304 636].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England