Francis Gerald Tighe, a dedicated suburban family physician, died suddenly from a coronary occlusion on 5 December 2002. He was a wonderful human being and had a profound influence on all who had the privilege to know him.
Frank was born in Oakleigh, Victoria, on 18 April 1936, and was educated at local Catholic schools. He had already completed a degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne, and was well into research for his Masters degree, when he was accepted into the medical faculty in 1960. His Masters thesis on myxomatosis was never finished as he became immersed in the intricacies of human diseases, general practice and then family life.
Frank won the Ryan Prize for surgery in his final year as a medical student. He did his residency at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, in 1965 and served with the Royal Australian Air Force from 1966 to 1970. After a flirtation with ophthalmology at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Frank decided to make a career of general practice and joined the Valewood Clinic in Mulgrave, Victoria. He obtained a Diploma in Obstetrics from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1971) and a Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (1975).
Frank remained in the same practice until his death. He had always been a compassionate and caring person, and the overflowing church at his funeral was testimony to the high regard in which he was held by all.
Frank retained his interest in agriculture and owned a succession of small properties, but never got around to buying the trotter that had been his ambition in student days. He loved gardening and, at the time of his death, was preparing to retire to his holiday cottage at McCray.
The qualities that made Frank so special were his confidence and maturity, his compassion and strong sense of justice, and his outstanding abilities as a teacher, communicator and leader. He had a remarkable talent for being able to break down complex topics into fundamentals that could be easily understood by others. His warmth, friendliness and air of gentle authority earned him tremendous popularity and respect from both colleagues and patients.
He is survived by his wife Daphne and children Francine and Lucas.
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