ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b
All Saints’ Church Lime Walk, Headington, Oxford
to meet and marry Joy. They complemented and supported each other so well, with fantastic shared experiences in music and art, and further extensive travel. Joy, Julian and Cedric gave John a new lease of life. After such a long period as a bachelor it was very notable how much he enjoyed married and family life and was very proud to be a grandpa. From the many letters and messages that the family have received from different periods of John’s life there is a consistency in descriptions of the impact that he had on other people: he was loving, supportive, interested and caring. BURKE, DAVID (1941-2019) On 21st April 2019, Easter Sunday morning, John David Castleton Burke (D, 1954-1959). Father of Alan (D, 1981-1985) and Martin (D, 1982-1987). In remembering their father, the eulogy written for David referred to a picture taken of a small 13-year-old boy, whose own father had already passed away, holding onto the railings of a ship which had just brought him from Dominica to the UK, by himself, not to return for three years. It is a picture of a small boy, who was clearly petrified.
Bach choir. He bought a four-berth cabin cruiser called Streamline in 1969, which he kept at Folly Bridge. River cruising gave him great pleasure and as a result of this hobby, in 1977 he saw and bought Swans’ Nest in Dorchester. Recollections from the 1970s and 1980s also come from many happy days on multiple family holidays together or visiting Swans’ Nest and using Streamline . There were a number of occasions on holiday when John surprised a tour guide by arriving, with some help, in places that wheelchairs did not have access to in those days – 350 steps to the top of the Mont Saint-Michel or onto the Acropolis in Athens. These feats have continued with Joy and Julian even getting him to the Treasury at Petra! John was more than an uncle to his nephews, always with the ambition to join in and providing caring, good counsel. Swans’ Nest provided a second home at various times of their lives, even if only to “borrow” the boat! A new chapter started in his life in 1994 when, through Julian at St Peter’s college, John met Joy and they were married in September 1998. We are very grateful for the happiness it brought John Michael and Charles, his nephews, who remember
I understand that latterly,
Bob was instrumental in organising reunion meetings of BMC Export staff at the Trout at Godstow. Bob was always a larger than life character with a huge sense of humour, and I am sure that everyone who knew him will be shocked at his passing and will remember him with affection. I send his wife, Sue, and his family my condolences. BITHELL, JOHN (1939-2020) On 7th March 2020, John Francis Bithell (F, 1952-1957), brother of David (D, 1949- 1954). John was born in Surrey in May 1939 and was the middle child of three with elder brother David and younger sister Elizabeth. After being evacuated to grandparents in St Anne’s-on-Sea during the war, the family moved to Prestbury in Cheshire in 1945 and John went to school there until the age of 13. He was a bright child and gained an exhibition to St Edward’s. In 1957 he left St Edward’s and had a ‘year off’, teaching Maths in a prep school before going up to Pembroke College to read Mathematics. After graduation he then went on to specialise in Statistics. He was a good runner; at school he had been Captain of the Harriers and at University he had run for the second Oxford cross country team. He was very fit and in good health. The family had an annual short break in North Wales each Easter. On 26th April 1963, just before his 24th birthday, John was shopping with his parents in Conway when the driver of a car lost control and the vehicle swept down the pavement hitting about a dozen people before coming to a stop with John squeezed up against a wall. He was operated on at the local hospital and they managed to save his life but his spine was badly damaged.
O B I T U A R I E S
The prognosis was grim. Two days later he was flown to Gobowen paraplegic hospital where during the course of two years he had a number of “first time ever done” operations and gradually grew stronger. During this time he worked on Statistics as a research officer at the Nuffield Foundation. Thanks to the skill of the medical profession and John’s determination to face up to the difficulties and challenges, he made a remarkable recovery and was able to live a full and active life. Where many people would have surrendered to depression and self-pity, John was determined to live as normal a life as possible. He was hard- working, cheerful, interested in other people and he had a broad range of interests. He lived independently for many years and held down a demanding job both in teaching and research. He travelled abroad most years and circumnavigated the world on three occasions – twice on his own. His early research focussed on healthcare and in 1969 he got his DPhil on the scheduling of waiting lists and distribution of blood supplies. His career in medical statistics then took him to the Childhood Cancer Research Group. In 1976 he was appointed Tutor and Fellow in Biomathematics and Statistics at St Peter’s. As well as travel, John loved music, singing in the Oxford Tue d y 24th M rch 2020 2 p.m. John Francis Bithell 6th May 1939 — 7th March 2020
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