Vol. 19 No 1 | Autumn 2017
College -> Obituaries
Obituary: Dr James David O’Donovan

This article is 7 years old and may no longer reflect current clinical practice.

Dr James David O’Donovan

(1942 – 2016)

James O’ Donovan, always known by his middle name David, was born in Cork County, Ireland on 3 May 1942, the son of a local doctor. The family moved to Sheffield, UK, where he commenced early education at St Theresa Co-Educational Roman Catholic School, before completing secondary school at the De La Salle Christian Brothers Grammar School. He remained a devout Catholic throughout his life.

His undergraduate studies were at Sheffield University (MBChB 1965), followed by medical practice in the UK, Canada and as a ship’s doctor for P&O. David met his future wife, Cathy, on board ship when she was travelling from Australia to the UK to complete her postgraduate medical studies. He obtained Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) in 1970 in London and, in 1973, emigrated with his young family as ‘£10 Poms’ to an appointment as Deputy Director of the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. He subsequently entered private practice in Perth supported by his colleague Dr Mick Connaughton and in partnership with Dr John M Vujcich, before setting up a solo private practice.

David obtained Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRACOG) in 1980, was elevated to Fellowship of the RCOG (FRCOG) in 1982, and, following the amalgamation of the Australian and New Zealand Colleges, was admitted as a Fellow of RANZCOG in 1998.

David was very busy throughout a long and successful career, attending seven different hospitals in Perth with regular trips to the country centre at Esperance for surgery and clinical consultations. He had a charismatic, vivacious personality with a great sense of humour, which was much loved by his patients and hospital staff. He travelled everywhere with Finbar, his faithful Rhodesian/Staffordshire cross, who regarded the Mercedes sports car as his kennel.

David retired in 2008 to spend time with his grandchildren and to write his professional memoire (The Delivery Man). He died unexpectedly on 5 November 2016, while playing tennis at the Peppermint Grove Tennis Club. He will be very sadly missed by his friends and family.

David is survived by his wife, Cathy, and their daughters, Amanda and Elizabeth, and two grandchildren, Xavier and Isadora.


Peter Caldwell

Hi, I have only just seen this obituary. I knew David at De La Salle in Sheffield, we were in 6th form together.
Sorry to see he has departed.
I too played tennis but have retired due to various injuries.
You might pass this message to his family.
Peter Caldwell

Lyn Brown

I have only just learned about his early demise and I am devastated. I worked for David for 16 years, both at West Perth and his Fremantle rooms and loved every minute of it. He was such a hard working Doctor and nothing was too much trouble to him. I actually dreamt of him last night which made me think something had happened to him I didn’t know about – and on checking, I was so right. I know it’s now over 6 years since his passing and I still feel SO sad and hope that Cathy and his girls, Amanda and Elizabeth and grandchildren remember the good times with him. Rest in Peace David, you will never ever be forgotten. Lyn (former secretary)


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