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Biographical entry Mitchell, Robert Ian (1927 - 2002)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB BS Sydney 1950; FRACS 1958; FACS 1960; FRCS Canada 1960; FACP 1970.

13 October 1927
Longueville, New South Wales, Australia
13 February 2002
General practitioner and Thoracic surgeon


Robert Mitchell was born in Longueville, New South Wales, on 13 October 1927. His father, William Robert Mitchell, was an accountant. His mother was Lilian née Coram. He was educated at the Sydney Church of England Grammar School and studied medicine at the University of Sydney. He did junior posts at the Royal North Shore Hospital, before going to Guy's in 1954 to specialise in surgery. After passing the FRCS, he was registrar at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, and then resident surgical officer at St Mark's. He spent a year as a fellow at the Center for Cancer and Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, under George Pack. He then returned to the Royal North Shore Hospital in 1959 as lecturer in surgery.

In 1960 he emigrated to Canada, as thoracic and general surgeon to the Wellesley Hospital. He remained there until 1983 as chief of thoracic surgery, but also held the position of associate professor in the department of surgery in the University of Toronto. During this period he held a consultant position at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. In 1984, he became chairman of the board of trustees of the Eye Research Institute of Canada. He was also a director of George Weston Limited. He was executive director of the medical services division of the Workers Compensation Board of Ontario.

A man of many interests, Bob Mitchell was a tireless campaigner against smoking, socialism and mediocrity. In 1978, he was the co-founder of a new political reform movement - One Canada. He was a keen swimmer, tennis-player, gardener and bird-watcher.

He married Barbara Elizabeth née Weston in Cannes in 1957. They had two sons, Garfield and Mark, and four daughters, Eliza, Emma, Sarah and Serena, none of whom went into medicine. There are three grandchildren - Charlotte, Thomas and Wesley. He died on 13 February 2002. A new building for bird studies in Canada was established in his memory along one of the greatest migratory flyways in the world.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Eliza Mitchell].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England