Dr Warwick Renton was no fan of medical super-clinics and what he saw as the corporatisation of medicine.
Instead, he wanted to give people the time of day. In 1979 he escaped Sydney life with his family and moved to Goulburn.
"Dad didn't want to put a time limit on people. He wanted to practice medicine with compassion," a family member said.
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That philosophy and the desire to serve guided his 35-year career in Goulburn as a specialist physician.
The widely respected Dr Renton died at Goulburn's Masonic Village on Friday, November 10, aged seventy-eight.
He practiced at the Goulburn Medical Clinic and was a visiting medical officer (VMO) at the Base Hospital for more than 30 years.
Born at Cremorne in 1945, he was the youngest of three children, including Graham and Geraldine, to Grace and Edwin Renton. His father was a renowned podiatrist who introduced new technologies to Australia from his US travels.
"He always wanted to help people," a family member said.
"If he saw people broken he wanted to help them. He was selfless."
At university, he became enchanted with Lorraine Webb after he heard romantic music emanating from her window.
The nurse and the Sutherland Hospital general registrar married in 1969 and settled at Sylvania Waters. By the time he set up private practice in Sutherland in 1973, the couple had two children, Julie-Ann and Warwick junior.
When not at the practice, he jumped out of helicopters helping to perform ocean rescues with Royal Lifesaving. In 1974, Dr Renton studied aviation medicine with the RAAF Reserve and became a flight lieutenant.
A family member said he volunteered for the Vietnam War, but was rejected due to his valued profession at home.
In 1977, the year his third child, Melanie was born, Dr Renton rendered medical help in the Northern Ireland conflict, while the family stayed in Edinburgh. In 1983, his son, Andrew, came along and a year later, Dr Renton studied tropical medicine with the RAAF Reserve in Papua New Guinea.
Years later, in 1992, he undertook an eight-month deployment to war-torn Somalia with the Red Cross where he performed operations with crude equipment.
While there, Dr Renton was awarded a citation for bravery after rescuing two US soldiers from a field dotted with land mines.
"No one else would go out there but he ran through the minefield and got them out," the family member said.
As a neutral volunteer, he was unable to accept the bravery medal the US government wanted to award him.
The Goulburn RSL Sub Branch made him an honorary member due to his Red Cross service.
In Goulburn he soon made an impression on colleagues and patients with his own brand of care.
"He wouldn't charge full fees if he felt people couldn't afford it...He'd go the extra mile to make people comfortable and happy," the family member said.
"If people were housebound, he'd go and have a cup of tea with them, not to give medical treatment but because he thought it would make a difference."
Goulburn Medical Clinic principal, Dr Rod McConnell, said Dr Renton was a driving force behind the Clifford Street specialist centre's establishment in 1996. At the time, Dr Renton was clinic chairman.
"He was a very caring and generous physician and would take time to look at people...He was very thorough with his work and had a gentle nature," he said.
Dr McConnell said Dr Renton and Dr Tony Whelan were the "backbone" of medical services at Goulburn Base Hospital.
He constantly furthered his studies, including in nuclear medicine and a Masters of Palliative Care in 1995.
In 2011 he was awarded a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for his medical service to Goulburn. Dr Renton was also a Goulburn citizen of the year.
Though he worked long hours, his children remember him as a "kind, generous and fun-loving" man who encouraged them to study hard.
"He was also very spiritual, but not in a highly conventional way," the family member said.
Dr Renton retired as a hospital VMO in about 2014 and from the medical clinic soon after. The same year, he told The Post that Goulburn needed a new hospital and not a "patched up one" but he didn't expect to see it in his lifetime.
In retirement he loaned his expertise to Goulburn's ANU Medical School and remained interested in other people's health and welfare.
Dr Renton moved to the Masonic retirement village in 2022 due to illness and into higher care more recently.
He died peacefully there on Friday, November 10, surrounded by family.
"He taught me so many things but the most important were forgiveness, kindness, generosity and unconditional love," the family member said.
Dr Renton's funeral service will be held at Saint Saviour's Cathedral at 10am Friday, November 24. Interment will follow at the Goulburn General Cemetery.
- With thanks to the Renton family for their assistance.
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