Dr Norman H. Gelpke, my brother, was a well-known North Shore orthopaedic surgeon. Dr Gelpke was born in Croydon, England, and graduated from the University of London (St Mary’s Hospital Medical School). He was an outstanding gymnast and boxer in school and college, and was British Universities lightweight boxing champion and played scrum-half at St Mary’s and for the Rosslyn Park Football Club. He also gained a certain notoriety as an undergraduate by capturing a London bobby’s helmet on Guy Fawkes Day and climbing up the Houses of Parliament to place it on top of the steeple.
Dr Gelpke served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps with Commonwealth forces in Korea. He was in the first wave of orthopaedic surgeons to do joint replacements and spent time training with the pioneers of hip surgery, Sir John Charnley in Wrightington; Mr McKee in Norwich; and others at Oswestry, London, Toronto, and Salt Lake City. Dr Gelpke also carried out volunteer work in Dominica and Africa.
Dr Gelpke was a keen and expert skier and set up the Doctor on the Hill program in Whistler. He was also a founder of the British Orthopaedic Ski Association, which has met since the 1960s at Zurs in the Austrian Arlberg.
Dr Gelpke was a gregarious, generous, and charming host and took great interest in his friends and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife, Susie, and two other brothers.
—Paul M. Gelpke, MB, FRCP
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