Donald Allan was born in Otago in 1907 of Scottish settler stock. His father, Joseph Allan, farmed on the Taieri Plains near Dunedin. His mother was Emily Salmond, a daughter of William Salmond who came from North Shields to lecture at the recently founded Presbyterian Theological College: subsequently he became professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at Otago University. Donald’s father died when he was seven and the family moved to Dunedin where Donald attended Otago Boys’ High School and Otago University. He was a gifted sportsman and represented Otago at both rugby and cricket. He graduated from the Otago Medical School in 1931 and spent his house surgeon and registrar years at Dunedin and Timaru hospitals during which time he gained his MD.
In 1933 Donald met and married his sister-in-law’s bridesmaid, Mary Puflett, daughter of Andrew and Isabella Puflett from Gisborne. Thereafter they set sail for England, Donald working as ship’s surgeon, as was the usual practice in those days. Donald and Mary spent three years in London, while he gained postgraduate experience and where their daughter Jan was born. In 1937 they returned to New Zealand to an essentially general practice in Waipawa, a country town in Hawkes Bay. Donald became a true country doctor. His working day included obstetrics, anaesthetics at the nearby Waipukurau General Hospital where he was also visiting specialist physician and home visits over many miles of unsealed roads. Over the years he developed his interests and skills in cardiology and in diabetes, which had been the topic of his MD thesis. He was much involved with the chest clinic, which was a major activity of the Waipukurau Hospital and its nearby tuberculosis sanatorium.
Above all, Donald Allan was part and parcel of his community and sport and games were as important to his involvement as was his doctoring. He was a leading member of the local tennis club and started the veterans’ tennis movement. He fished in summer and skied annually until he was 79. Bridge and golf were weekly occasions and he was a shrewd poker player. Later he became a keen bowler. Donald was an active member of Rotary and his love of gardening lead to his forming the Waipawa Beautifying Society. He was named a Hawkes Bay 'Living Treasure' and his community service was recognised by the award of the Queen’s Service Medal. Like many very active and practical men, Donald was forthright in his manner sometimes appearing aggressive and demanding but he never lost the respect and affection of all those who knew him well. His wife Mary died in 1995 and he is survived by his sons, Graeme and Robert, and his daughter Jan (Mrs Larsen). His son John was a surgeon in Auckland and is survived by a doctor daughter.
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