OBITUARY: Immunologist and musician Professor Dennis Pudifin

2013-12-19 00:00

RESPECTED immunologist Professor Dennis Pudifin died in Durban on December 3 after a long illness.

For many years, he was a well-known figure in Pietermaritzburg. Having qualified from the University of Cape Town in 1957 as a medical doctor, he did his internship at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg where he subsequently trained to become a physician under well-known physician Dr John Cosnett.

Pudifin published the obituary of Dr Cosnett a few months ago.

Pudifin obtained his higher examination in internal medicine as well as his fellowship from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. Subsequently, he joined the department of medicine, King Edward VIII Hospital, in Durban to gain recognition of his academic training time as a specialist physician.

He entered the department of medicine as a consultant/lecturer in the University of Natal and was later appointed professor of Medicine and deputy head. His interest was in immunology, Aids, clinical medicine and teaching students. He spent one year at the Radcliffe Infirmary training in immunology.

“Together with June Duursma, he published valuable information in immunology for the literature,” says long-term colleague and friend, Professor Yackoob Seedat. “Over the decades, Dennis was an active member of the British Society of Immunology, and president of the South African Society of Immunology from 1987 to 1988. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1979. In 1994 he reached retiring age but he continued as a physician and emeritus professor until just before his demise.

“Dennis practised a strong ethical code, was devoted to the university medical school and the department of medicine. He cared for his patients and enjoyed teaching students.”

While living in Pietermaritzburg, Pudifin played the clarinet in the Pietermaritzburg Philharmonic Society’s orchestra and, when he moved to Durban, he joined the Durban City Orchestra as clarinet player and was its chairperson for many years.

He leaves behind his wife Jenny, his daughters Colette and Sarah as well as his sons-in-law and four grandchildren. A lawyer by profession, Sarah Pudifin-Jones has inherited her father’s musical talent. She is an accomplished violinist and has often played with the KZN Philharmonic.

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