BENDIGO has farewelled a forgotten but formidable figure with the death of a well known former doctor.
Herbert "Bill" Purton died on December 26, aged 102.
Dr Purton delivered hundreds of babies as a general practitioner for decades in Bendigo. He pioneered the city's blood bank, and was involved in planning the intensive care unit at Bendigo's old hospital, built in the 1970s.
He practiced surgery, obstetrics, anaesthetics and served as honorary radiotherapist between 1953 and 1956.
In a eulogy former surgeon Bill Hanna spoke of Dr Purton's care, diligence and humility.
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Mr Hanna said he got to know Dr Purton in 1972, always holding him in high regard. He remembers a quiet, modest, courteous man.
He said Dr Purton was one of the last to make house calls when needed.
"He was a quiet thoughtful man, very caring for his patients, He didn't mind going out at all hours to deliver babies or to do urgent house calls or work in operating theatre late at night," Mr Hanna said.
"Bill delivered a huge number of babies and I still meet people who tell me that he delivered them."
Mr Hanna described Bill's birth in Hobart. He said the young Dr Purton was named Herbert Culvenor, but an uncle objected, saying, "We cannot call the child that, so let's call him Bill".
Dr Purton studied at Bendigo Camp Hill School and Scotch College, Melbourne. He graduated from medicine at Melbourne University, shortly before the outbreak of World War Two.
He joined the Army Medical Corp in 1940, serving in New Guinea and treating prisoners from the Japanese Changi camp.
Dr Purton married Joan Stephens, who he first met aged 19. The couple had five children, Margaret, twins Lucy and Jane, son Bill and daughter Rae.
Mrs Purton passed away in 2018, aged 95, shortly after her husband's hundredth birthday.
After the war, Dr Purton worked in Melbourne and Hobart before settling in Bendigo.
He joined Dr Slater in a View Street Practice, later joined by Dr Harry Pannifex. They later built new rooms in Arnold Street.
Mr Hanna remembered Dr Purton as a devout Presbyterian, attending St Andrew's and later St John's in Forest Street, where he served as an elder for 17 years.
He recalled Dr Purton's great hobby making and flying model planes.
"He did a very precise job and was skilled with lathes, and he flew these machines out at Marong Flying Club when he found the time," Mr Hanna said.
"On one occasion ... he called me to come to his surgery to suture a nasty gash sustained from a propeller blade to his hand."
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