Doctor remembered for devotion to facts, medicine

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012

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A sad love story with a happy ending brought New Plymouth doctor Alan Hayton and his wife, Shirley, together.

Dr Hayton died on Wednesday aged 93, after almost a year in Tainui Rest Home where he was visited daily by his wife of 41 years.

In the 1960s, Shirley Edgar worked as a nurse at Dr Hayton's surgery in New Plymouth.

During eight years working together, Dr Hayton used to bring in laundry and get Shirley to run errands as his first wife, Dorothy Perry, battled with polio.

"Mum was basically a housemaid from afar and it wasn't until a few years after Dorothy died that their friendship turned into something more and they got married," Shirley's daughter Cheryl said.

It was a second marriage for both and with three children each, their families came together under the one roof in New Plymouth in 1971. Dr Hayton was born in Hawera on July 24, 1919, and was educated at Central School and New Plymouth Boys' High School.

He received the Taranaki Scholarship in 1936 and the following year headed to Otago University's Medical School.

In 1945 Dr Hayton was posted overseas with the military service and served as a captain in the Fiji Infantry Regiment.

He was discharged two years later.

Shirley describes her husband as having a want to know everything.

"Facts were incredibly important to him and he was always learning," she said.

A lover of computers, an interest shared by his wife, there was always at least three computers in the house for researching.

"If he wasn't sure about something, even when he was in the rest home, he would tell me to go home and Google it," Shirley said.

She still runs into people he treated who said they got a history lesson every time they went to see him at the clinic.

A devoted medical professional with a raft of papers and research under his belt, his family remember him for his integrity and inquisitive mind. Dr Hayton is survived by his wife Shirley, six children, Ross, Max, Mark, Dennis, Cheryl and Carol, 15 grandchildren and sister Nancy.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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