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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2008 January 12; 336(7635): 103.
PMCID: PMC2190233

Noel Frank Collett Gowing

After house jobs at St George’s Hospital, Noel Frank Collett Gowing served in Europe as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Returning to St George’s in 1945, he trained in histopathology, becoming a senior lecturer there.

He moved to the Royal Marsden Hospital as consultant histopathologist in 1957, and, in recognition of his international reputation as an outstanding diagnostician and lecturer, was later awarded a personal chair in 1971. He retired from the Royal Marsden in 1982 but continued to work as a coroner’s pathologist, as well as teaching histopathology to students at Guy’s, until he reached 80. In retirement he tended a large garden. He was a founder fellow and subsequently registrar of the Royal College of Pathologists. He was also president of the Association of Clinical Pathologists.

A quiet and reserved man, Noel was forthright, without being confrontational, within the areas where his extraordinary expertise was recognised. Slides reached him daily from throughout the United Kingdom, and from abroad, for his opinion. His special interests were soft tissue, testicular, and thymic tumours. His replies were helpful, expeditious, courteous, and well referenced. Long before the days of immunohistochemistry and molecular cytogenetics, Noel practised tumour histopathology on the basis of keen observation, wide reading, and an encyclopaedic memory.

He is survived by his wife, Rela; a medical daughter; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Former professor of tumour pathology Royal Marsden Hospital, London (b 1917; q St George’s Hospital, London, 1941; MD, FRCPath), died from carcinomatosis on 17 September 2007.

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