Dr Norman Derek Royle, 1929–2017

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 10, December 2017, Page 530 Obituaries

It is with much sadness that I report the passing of Norman Derek Royle, born 20 September 1929 and died following a massive stroke on 27 September 2017, at his lakeside home, surrounded by his loving family.

It is with much sadness that I report the passing of Norman Derek Royle, born 20 September 1929 and died following a massive stroke on 27 September 2017, at his lakeside home, surrounded by his loving family.

Derek was born and brought up in Manchester, England, and was educated at Marlborough College, one of England’s most prestigious boarding schools for boys. He had a very sound general education, and there was a great deal of emphasis on the development of character and the emplacement of values such as honor, tradition, self-discipline, determination, endurance, and dependability. Derek embraced all of these, which served him well throughout his life and played a significant role in his becoming the determined, disciplined, and compassionate person that he was.

Derek was a good all-round athlete and an exceptionally fine rugby player. He was a shining member of his school’s first fifteen, and later played for the county of Lancashire.

On leaving school he did his 2 years of national service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He spent a year in Germany stationed near the notorious Belsen, where he kept the tanks running and other mechanized equipment in good order.

On his release from the army he was accepted by the medical school at Manchester University and graduated as a physician in 1955, followed by further months of additional hospital training.

In 1956 he married his first wife, Judy, and immigrated to Canada to settle in Lethbridge, Alberta, where he practised general medicine for 3 years, and where their first child, Anne, was born. The family then moved to Vancouver, where Derek did a 4-year residency at VGH to specialize in OB/GYN. During this period Wendy and Michael were born. When he completed his residency and qualified as a specialist, the family moved to Trail and Derek joined the C.S. Williams Clinic as a consultant in OB/GYN.

After 2 years in Trail, Derek and Judy’s marriage fell apart, and Derek moved to Kelowna, where he and Dr Jim Duklow, in separate practices, provided an excellent service in OB/GYN centred at the Kelowna General Hospital. Here, for 43 years, Derek was to spend the rest of his professional life. He was the first of the Kelowna group to take extra training in colposcopy, and in conjunction with the BC Cancer Agency, he set up the colposcopy clinic at the Kelowna General Hospital for the early diagnosis and management of pre-invasive cancer of the cervix, a most valuable service for both the hospital and community. Derek made a significant contribution to the excellent reputation that the Kelowna General Hospital enjoys as a first-class regional and referral centre. Following his retirement from OB/GYN, Derek continued to work at the hospital in the colposcopy clinic and doing surgical assists with a preference in both chest and orthopaedic surgery.

Derek was a devoted dad, participating in his children’s many activities and in their education. He was deservedly proud that all of them graduated from university and embarked on successful professional careers. In 1970 he married Ilva, who was a perfect partner and the love of his life for 47 years, and they had one son, Christopher. They owned a condo at Big White, where the family gathered for ski holidays. They were never happier than when skiing knee deep in fresh powder, making tracks in untrammeled territory. In summer they explored the wilds of Canada. Derek was an enthusiastic and very capable canoeist and enjoyed the challenge of the white water rapids of many of the rivers of BC, into which he would charge with great gusto. Together, he and Ilva traveled extensively, including trips to China and Africa. Trips in their camper included heroic journeys from Vancouver to Newfoundland, north to Alaska, and south to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and return.

Derek led a full and rewarding life. He will be remembered by hundreds of grateful patients and by his medical colleagues as a highly respected OB/GYN consultant with the most reliable clinical judgment and exceptional surgical skills, and above all, as a great companion and dear friend. 

May he rest in peace.
—Guy Winch, MB, ChB, FRCSC
West Vancouver

Guy Winch, MBChB. Dr Norman Derek Royle, 1929–2017. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 10, December, 2017, Page(s) 530 - Obituaries.

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