Kathleen Burgess: ‘a real character’

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Kathleen Anne Burgess, who died peacefully in her sleep on September 19, was born in Broxburn, West Lothian on October 25, 1914, the second child and eldest daughter of Alexander Scott MD and Janet Hogg Bryson.

Her paternal grandfather, also Alexander Scott, was the dominie at Bargeddie, between Coatbridge and Airdrie, and later of the Victoria School in Airdrie; her maternal grandfather James Bryson was manager of the Pumpherston Oil Works and later designed and supervised the building of the original Grangemouth oil refinery.

Mrs Burgess, nee Scott, was educated at Craigmount School and the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated MB ChB in 1940, at the same ceremony as her future husband, J Gordon Burgess MBE MB ChB, of Forfar. She took up a post as Resident Physician at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Mental Disorders.

Gordon and Kathleen were married in 1941, shortly before he was posted to India as a medical officer in the RAF. She went to Forfar to assist her father-in-law George Cruickshank Burgess MD with the family practice. Gordon returned in 1944 to take over from his father, who died that November.

The couple quickly gained a reputation for medical excellence, and in particular for their bedside manners, and they continued in practice together, and later with other partners, until Kathleen retired in 1974.

They were involved with the ground-breaking Forfar Diabetic Survey in 1962, in which 83 per cent of the population of the town co-operated in being tested for diabetes, a remarkably high participation rate.

After their retirement they travelled widely, and participated actively in a number of local groups, in particular supporting the Angus Members’ Centre of the National Trust for Scotland, an interest which Kathleen continued after being widowed in 1994. Kathleen Burgess was loved and valued by all who knew her. She had a very positive attitude, facing everything including widowhood and failing eyesight with calm good humour, and was described as ‘a wonderful lady’, ‘an impressive lady’ and ‘a real character’.

Mrs Burgess was in her 98th year, and is survived by a daughter and son, daughter-in-law, two grandsons and a granddaughter, a granddaughter-in-law and a great-granddaughter.