Respected witty, charming GP dies

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 08:00 21/03/2014

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A former Taranaki GP who delivered thousands of babies, Leon John Roborgh, has died in Wellington after a long illness.

He was 75.

Dr Roborgh was a GP, anaesthetist and obstetrician in New Plymouth from the 1970s until the early 2000s.

He grew up in Dutch Indonesia where he spent three years in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. After the war his family moved to Motueka when he was 13.

Dr Roborgh wanted to be a doctor from an early age, his son Simon said.

"I think he loved caring for people. He had ever since he was a kid. He had an innate need to help and care for people."

His father also enjoyed the challenging side of medicine, he said.

"He was a witty, charming, caring man absolutely respected by his peers and loved by his patients."

Dr Roborgh's sense of adventure came to the fore when he did two 10-week stints in Pakistan during the 1980s after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

He treated wounded Afghani soldiers who would come out of the hills after walking for three weeks to get medical treatment, Mr Roborgh said.

After he moved to Wellington Dr Roborgh worked at different places around the country as a locum until he partially retired and worked three days a week at a practice in Wellington.

In his spare time Dr Roborgh kept bees, Mr Roborgh said.

"He had a love of music, caring for the environment and discussing politics. He was a ridiculously well read man."

He died in Wellington on Monday.

Dr Roborgh is survived by his wife Lynne, four children, four grandchildren and three stepdaughters and their six children.

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