Helen Patience Uprichard Dodgson
26 Aug 1915-8 Aug 1995
Dr Patience Dodgson died 2 weeks before her 80th birthday in
Australia after 33 years of a debilitating and crippling disease that
left her blind and bedridden the last 6 years of her life. But her
I always knew when my mother was feeling better because I could
call from Philadelphia and have an argument about the Australian or
American political situation. Dr Patience was thrilled to tell me that her
refugee student had received a B in her English examination, due to my
mother's tutelage from her bed.
Dr Patience graduated from Queen's
University School of Medicine in Jan 1940, 4 months after Germany had attacked Poland by land, sea and air, and she was immediately swept up in
the war effort in England. She worked hard through her own burst
appendix and bombs dropping around the hospitals in Sheffield and
London and before too long caught the eye of a young medical student
at St Thomas' Hospital, London.
She married Michael Dodgson on
January 25th, 1945, and waved him goodbye as he sailed off to Burma, India and West Africa for 18 months. Daily letters ensued, full of promises of a
bright future. Michael returned, settled down to a career in
pathology and finally children started arriving in London in 1949.
Since Dr Patience's career was effectively finished at this time, she
decided to do child-bearing properly, giving birth to a 2nd child 12
months after that; a third child 14 months later and then a 4th 12
months after that. William John, the 2nd child died at 8 weeks.
Michael's career in Pathology was not progressing as fast as he liked,
so one morning he woke up and announced to Patience that they were
moving to New Zealand and he was flying out in a week. So in 1957
Patience packed up and climbed onto the Southern Cross with her three
small children. Tight-rope walking on the ship's rails and a
kidnapping attempt of the eldest in Fiji resulted in Michael putting
Patience by herself in a hotel room for several days on arrival in
Three years and another child later, the family moved on
to Australia, where Michael had secured a position as a hospital
pathologist in a University hospital in Sydney.
Two years after that,
Patience became crippled with arthritis, from running rapidly
everywhere she was scarcely able to hobble. Michael could not handle
his strong companion suddenly becoming needy, so he left.
worked as a rehabilitation physician in the Repatriation Department
from 1967 until her retirement in 1980. I, her only daughter, left
Australia in 1978 after finishing my Ph.D. and being offered a
post-doctoral position in Philadelphia.
When my first son was born in
1981, Patience could not get onto a plane quick enough to visit her
first grandchild. This was an arduous trip, the last plane trip she
My fourth child, my only daughter, was born in 1994. I
named her Patience.