The Shoalhaven has lost one of its leading medical professionals Dr Irwin Hanan, who passed away at age 86 last Tuesday, April 6.
His former colleagues have praised him for being a valuable mentor, who gave a lot of his spare time to looking after the community.
"The most striking thing about Dr Hanan was that he was always a gentleman and was very knowledgable. He had a great way of imparting his knowledge," said Nowra Cardiologist Dr Mark Ryan, who worked with Dr Hanan in the early 1990s.
"I remember when he retired, he gave a speech where he mentioned he was the only surgeon on call in Nowra for a time. He told this wonderful story where he went to the beach with the family and they went for a swim.
"When they came back to the car, there was a queue of people who needed medical advice or attention, waiting at the exact spot of the car. He made the comment that being a doctor in a rural setting is very much a total career and is a life commitment."
Nowra General Practitioner Dr Lee Simes worked with Dr Hanan since 1973 until he retired in 2002.
"Dr Hanan was frankly someone who bought modern medicine to the Shoalhaven area. He brought serious surgical practice in Nowra into the modern world so single-handedly," said Dr Simes.
"I watched him do amazing things, and he did so without a complaint or irritation."
Below is a statement prepared by Dr Hanan's family:
The family of Dr Irwin Hanan is sad to announce his passing on the 6th of April 2021 aged 86.
Irwin Hanan was born on the 23rd of April ,1934 in Dunedin, New Zealand.
He excelled at McGlashan College representing the school in rugby, cricket and athletics prior to attending the University of Otago. He continued his love of sport receiving a University Blue for rowing and also excelled academically in his medical studies.
At the age of 25 he left New Zealand to continue his medical training in London. He was a resident at the Royal Northern and Kingston upon Thames hospitals prior to becoming a registrar at St James Balham, training under Tanner & Burke the leading gastric and urological surgeons of the era.
He passed both his membership of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons at his first attempt, a rarity during that time.
In 1964 he met and married Libby Nash before returning to New Zealand and then Australia to pursue a career in general surgery and urology. They remained happily married to the end.
He settled on the South Coast of New South Wales at Nowra and became the first resident surgeon for the area. He was instrumental in the upgrade of the Shoalhaven hospital and worked with other specialist doctors in the design of the Community Hospital.
Dr Colin Shepherd and Dr Lee Simes gave all the anaesthetics for his operating lists in those early days of the Shoalhaven Hospital and Dr Hanan always felt immense confidence when they worked together.
He also arranged for many consulting medical specialists to consult in the local and Milton/Ulladulla area. He maintained the senior surgeon role until 1992 and spent the last ten years of his career specialising in Urology. He retired in 2002.
He worked tirelessly and selflessly for the community sacrificing much of his personal time to ensure the wellbeing of those in need.
Irwin was a keen naturalist and historian. He loved breeding cattle and poultry, a passion he held until the end. He loved fly-fishing returning to New Zealand every year to fish the mountain streams of his youth.
Above all, he loved his family and friends. He was a kind, gentle and humble man.
His wife Libby, children Katie and Campbell and grandchildren Pippa, Sophia, Harry and Stella loved him dearly.
He will be cremated at a private family service and a memorial service will be arranged a later date.
We will miss him.
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