Obituary - Dr James McGregor (Greg) Imray

Dr James McGregor (Greg) Imray

1933 to 2004

Greg Imray died suddenly on 19 August 2004 at the age of 70. He was appointed as a Consultant Anaesthetist to Grampian Health Board in 1971 and retired in 1996. After graduating at the University of Aberdeen in 1957, Greg served his house officer appointments in Aberdeen and spent the next two years in surgical posts in Tasmania. He returned to Aberdeen in 1962, partly to assume temporary responsibility for his late father's farm in Aberdeenshire, and also to begin his training as an anaesthetist.

Soon after becoming a consultant, Greg established an interest in pain relief and major vascular surgery, and he had a leading influence upon the setting up of Aberdeen as the fourth centre in Scotland for open cardiac surgery. As a direct result of these developments he then became the principal advocate of the first definitive Intensive Therapy Unit in Aberdeen. In 1994 a completely new enlarged ITU was established, and in recognition of Greg's central role in intensive care a plaque was unveiled within the new unit.

As one of the team introduced to deal with major civil and industrial incidents, he was flown offshore on 6 July 1988 to the scene of the Piper Alpha drilling platform disaster. He as a former Chairman of the North East of Scotland Society of Anaesthetists, and, reflecting his early experience of farming and his love of the north east 'doric' language, he sang a doric 'cornkister' as part of his Presidential address! He later became President of the Scottish Society of Anaesthetists, in which he retained an interest until his death.

The enormous physical and intellectual energy which Greg showed during his distinguished career was continued into his retirement years. He kept up-to-date with the latest developments in farming methods and was an avid and knowledgeable gardener. He was particularly proud of the family trout loch in Aberdeenshire which was planned and constructed under his supervision. Before retirement, Greg joined with a small number of friends from other professions to form an active discussion group which met regularly in the winter months, often debating a topic introduced by one of many guest speakers, and this interest was continued throughout his retirement. This reflected his constant search for knowledge, and in his latter years he became an expert in furniture restoration, bird-watching, and the restoration of neighbours' garden walls in which he designed and produced the semi-circular coping stones to reproduce the old designs. His most intense retirement interest was golf which he pursued with zeal and intellectual analysis in his quest for the perfect golf swing. His friends will miss his huge zest for life and his quirky sense of humour.

Greg's many colleagues and friends have expressed their condolences to his beloved wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth, whose graduation in medicine at Aberdeen gave him enormous pride, and who was married to Dr Steve Leslie only three months before Greg's untimely death.

Dr G S Robertson, Aberdeen