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News > Passing of friends > Roger Crittenden (19680) passes away after illness

Roger Crittenden (19680) passes away after illness

He enjoyed a good bookshop and an intriguing mountain.
Roger Crittenden (1968/9 O)
Roger Crittenden (1968/9 O)

Last week we heard the sad news that Roger Crittenden had passed away.  We were fortunate enough to have received this notification from his daughter, Jessica:

Dr. Roger K. Crittenden (1950-2023) died at home on January 23rd, after a courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease. His wife Sarah and children Jessica & Charlie sat with him as he passed on peacefully, with great dignity. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and brother. He was a kind friend, a dedicated physician, an epic outdoorsman/athlete, a great intellect, and above all, a good man. 

Following his childhood in Cape Town, his medical career took him to Namibia and then England. He met Sarah at a hospital in Leamington Spa, and their adventures around the world brought them to Canada. From the Prairies to the Okanagan Valley, they raised their family and made so many amazing friends along the way. 

Roger enjoyed a good bookshop, an intriguing mountain, and thoughtfully conversing with the world. 

He will never be forgotten.

In addition to the write up from Jessica, Simon Burrow (1968F) passed on this lovely letter that Roger wrote to Simon McKenzie (1968/9O) not so long ago:

Addressed to the late Simon McKenzie (1959-68) just before our 50th anniversary. From Roger Crittenden:

Hi Simon,

I much enjoyed our conversation yesterday.I am really sorry not to be able to make it and whoop it up a bit with the guys from ’68. I have Parkinsons Disease, which, oddly enough, was well described in a French  short story in one of our textbooks at school if I recall correctly.It sticks in my mind.

Fortunately my version is not as severe, but is variable and complicated to manage, To get to the Cape one would be searching for different pills in dark bags over the Atlantic, or the Sahara in the second leg of the journey.

But to thoughts about the characters who shaped our lives in the 60’s.

  • Miss Wolfe first. I think a tough yet wonderfully likeable lady. I remember the class run up the slope to the toilets. The beach bats on the bum if one shifted off the straight and narrow. She broke a reed on me, little knowing that it was soft and pliable and caused no pain at all. She chastised me because I wrote my name too large in the book with the annual photo. A fine start to Bishops!
  • Peter Lemesurier with the deep breathing exercises before the day started to take off.
  • Mr Gerald Allanthwaite, immaculately dressed and spoken. A little fearsome.
  • Albert Loubser, ?spelling, Albie to the more daring of us Madame VanMeteren, the rather flamboyant French Teacher, John Charlton, who created hurdlers high jumpers and rugby teams out of almost nothing,and set up the first prep rugby tour which went to Natal.
  • Up to College, and the fagging, and walking down to the tuck shop with Simon and Robin and Simon picking up quantities of coinage out of the sand.Sharp eyes!
  • Mr Mallett stalking around his grounds.
  • David Wren presenting himself to Pickles Currey, for a nicotine finger inspection at his office after fruitless scrubbing.

I won’t go on.

Briefly for myself, we live in the Okanagan Valley, 4 hours drive inland from Vancouver on Canada’sWest Coast. A semi desert wine producing area on a 70 mile long lake. There is rugby, even cricket, skiing, golf too.  We have been here 28 years, the kids have gone east to Alberta over the Rockies. We lead a life that is rather blessed. Canadians make good friends, and fine, decent and respectful citizens.

My medical practice has closed down slowly in stages. I am about to finally pull the plug of teaching and working in the operating room.

Hope you guys have a great time. I am sure you will, even if it is hard to find water for the ice cubes for your whisky.

My journey would have just been too long and too much for a guy with my illness.

Bless you all.


With thanks to Simon Burrow for passing this on to us.

This letter shares a bit about his illness and his life in Canada, but most significantly reveals his lively sense of humour and good naturedness.

Our sincerest condolences go to his family for their great loss.

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