Sun | Dec 4, 2016

LETTER OF THE DAY - Dr Anthony Lewis was so much more

Published:Saturday | January 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In your publication of The Gleaner (January 15, 2015), there is an announcement that Dr D. Anthony Lewis has died. The notice only mentioned that he was "... late of Rosend Farm, Albany, St Mary".

There is no mention of the fact that he spent most of the 30-plus years that made up his professional life at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) Facio-Maxillary Clinic, performing services to the poor and unfortunate of this city and the people of Jamaica.

There is no mention of the fact that he was a church organist of some skill and reputation, who could be found most Sundays or other days of the week providing the musical input at some religious rite to enhance the experience of worshippers or celebrants.

I remember that, on his 40th birthday, Dr Lewis himself had a celebration because he was surprised and grateful that he had lived to that old age, and he sponsored a brunch for all his friends, colleagues, patients, at the restaurant at the top floor of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

He fancied himself a farmer, but his farm then was in Yallahs, St Thomas. I remember him saying about Jamaica's plight, in the infamous 1970s, "Leave the keys with me, I will look after the lights."

In the area of academics, there are not many dental surgeons who have the postgraduate qualification of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK, at any of the four Royal Colleges that still exist in that country. Dr Lewis was a Fellow of both London and Edinburgh, after he had graduated from Leeds University with his qualifying degree. I think he was the first Jamaican to attain that distinction. Those who qualified for 'Fellow' by passing FDSRCS in Britain at that time can testify how tough those examinations can be.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Among his professional colleagues, his career was consultant at KPH, and in private practice, a past president of the Jamaica Dental Association. He was a member of the Jamaica Dental Council, senior dental surgeon in the Ministry of Health, and a founding president of The Caribbean-Atlantic Dental Association.

He has had two life-threatening illnesses, and, despite handicaps in mobility and vision, persisted in practising to the highest level of his capabilities until late in his life.

In his life and career, he was a person of some distinction, in addition to being of Rosend Farm. One could not but admire his accomplishments. He was very impatient and hyperactive sometimes, although he was late for every appointment, and one was terrified of his fast driving.

I hope that he was not "born to blush unseen", since that would confirm that we here are in that cultural desert many place us in.

DENNIS STEPHENS

Retired Consultant Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeon

KPH

saturn1@cwjamaica.com