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Leinster Leader 29 October 1960

Passing of distinguished doctor

Dr. Joseph Roantree, Moorefield Lodge, Droiched Nua, who died recently, was one of the town’s most distinguished residents who, for sixty-three years, until his recent retirement in April 1959, had been dispensary doctor for the area.
Aged 93, he was a native of Lurgan and first came to Droichead Nua, then a British Garrison town, in 1896. He was educated at Summerhill College, Sligo, and in 1887 began study of medicine in the old Catholic University in St. Cecelia St., Dublin. He studied under the famous Ambrose Bermingham, then a professor in the University.
Qualifying in 1894, Dr. Roantree was appointed House surgeon at the Mater Hospital, Dublin, and two years later came to Droichead Nua as dispensary doctor. For the next 63 years he ministered to the sick of the Droichead Nua area and in that period established for himself a unique reputation as a doctor and a Christian gentleman.
Notable figures
His area of administration extended over many miles and his patients, rich and poor, included many notable figures in public, military and sporting life. As a doctor he was painstaking and completely thorough in all his examinations. Even in his declining years he maintained that strict code; complete thoroughness remained the feature of his dealings with all his patients.
If, as a doctor, he was thorough and complete, as a human being he was no less forthright. He had no time for platitudes, empty phrases or hypocrisy. In his professional and business life he used no subterfuge and his so obvious honesty and singleness of purpose earned him the unqualified respect and esteem of all with whom he had any dealings.
Famous escape
With such a long and extensive experience, he naturally could reminisce a great deal. He could for instance, recall Republicans escaping from Droichead Nua. Armed men called him out that night to attend to a wounded escapee – the revolvers were incidental for Dr. Roantree never needed either persuasion or enticement to make his professional services available to the sick
He was one of the first men to own and drive a motor car in the district; before the advent of the machine he favoured a brougham, invariably drawn by a grey. His love of horses was deep-rooted and up to a few years ago he hunted regularly with the Kildare hounds and was also a well-known figure at the Curragh race meetings, being honorary medical doctor for the venue for a great many years.
He will be remembered as a man of true piety, with a deep sense of the real meaning of his vocation, a dedicated adherence to the highest principles of that vocation and, mixed with all, a full understanding of the real meaning of charity and an ever readiness to put that conception of Christian charity into practice.
In his lengthy life, Dr. Roantree became something of an institution in Droichead Nua. “A doctor and a gentleman” – that tribute, spoken by a prominent businessman referring to his death, just about sums up a town’s feeling for one of its most esteemed and popular citizens.
He is survived by two sons, Lt. Col. F. F. D. Roantree, and Dr. W. Roantree; by a daughter, Mrs. M. E. Tadeusz and a sister Mother M. Austin.
An immense concourse attended the funeral from Newbridge Parish Church to Kilbelin Cemetery. Rev. A. S. McNally, C.C., officiated at the graveside.

Dr Rowantree Red Cross Course Ryston House WWIIsmall.jpg

The above photo was given by Kathleen Conlon Kavanagh of Tankardsgarden, Newbridge to the Local Studies Dept., Kildare Library & Arts Services and was possibly taken at Ryston House in Newbridge where Red Cross Training took place during the Emergency (1939 -1945). Dr. Roantree is seated in the front row fourth from the right [note by Mario Corrigan].

Dr Rowantree Red Cross Ryston House WWIIsmall.jpg

The passing of distinguished Newbridge resident Doctor Joseph Roantree, from the Leinster Leader of 29 October 1960

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