Obituary of Frederic Robert Holland Wrigley
Dr. Frederic (Deric) Robert Holland Wrigley M.B., B.S., FRCP (C)
Passed away in North York on Monday July 11th at the age of 97.
Deric grew up in England, mostly in Yorkshire, and attended Christ’s Hospital School for Boys until 1942. He then went on to study medicine at the University of London / Guys Hospital and Pembury Hospital. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corp (Surgery) as a Captain in a regiment in Malaya from 1950-1952.
After the army, he worked at St. Bartholomew’s and then the London Children’s Hospital where he developed an interest in anaesthesia. He was advised to go to Montreal, where McGill University had the only anaesthesia program at the time, so he emigrated to Canada in 1956. While at the London Children’s, he developed a needle to manage IV lines for pediatric patients; it looked and functioned a lot like the current butterfly needle. It was never patented but the butterfly needle which was later developed elsewhere is a staple in hospitals now. We always like to tell the story about his brother, Hugh, who worked as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company and was selling the new butterfly needle to the Children’s hospital … they exclaimed … well, that’s the “Wrigley needle”!
In the late 50s and 60s, he was a member of the anaesthesia team at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. In 1964, along with 3 colleagues, he started the Canadian Society of Inhalation Therapist Technicians (now the Canadian Society of Respiratory Technologists), of which he was honoured with lifetime membership. He was head of the ICU at the General Hospital in St. John’s NL for some of the years that we lived in St. John’s (1971-76) and was instrumental in designing the ORs at the Health Sciences Centre in St. Johns which opened in 1978. In 1976 we moved to Toronto, where Deric was Anaesthetist-in-Chief (1977–85) at the Wellesley Hospital, after which he continued to be an active member of the anaesthesia team until his retirement (1996). He always had a very active role in the teaching of the clinical clerks in both St. John’s and Toronto and was Chairman of the University of Toronto Department of Anaesthesia Undergraduate Education Committee from 1978 to 1985.
As our Husband / Dad / Grandad, we knew him as an inventor of eclectic and useful things (like a swiveling floor-to-ceiling laundry rack and a jack-in-the box!), and he was an amazing amateur carpenter, electrician and plumber. He built a Mirror-class dinghy (from a kit from England) in 1966, which we still sail, and he was always doing small renovations on the family houses, and he did a big renovation project on Sue’s house – when he was 83! He loved sailing and introduced the family to camping vacations in Newfoundland. He was always available to help his 3 daughters – including going to Australia to nurse Sue for 2 weeks when she herniated a disc. And he cherished his grandsons. He made sure we were all able to change tires on our cars on our own. And he had a really great, and dry, sense of humour – he always had some prank up his sleeve for April Fool’s day - and was a whiz at cryptic crosswords.
He will be sadly missed by his beloved wife Ruth, daughters Sue, Sandy and Linda, son-in-law Reed Dawson (Sandy), grandsons Jonathan and Kevin Dawson and son-in-law Mike McManus (Linda).
Pre-deceased by his brothers John (Lillian) and Hugh (Marion) and will also be missed by his nieces and nephews Michael, Val, Graham, Helen, Clare, Andrew and their families.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Doctors without Borders, a charity very close to Deric’s heart. doctorswithoutborders.ca
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