Dr John Hern loved medicine, teaching, farming and walking amid the beautiful surroundings of Bennachie and the Mither Tap.
Tributes have now been paid to the former medical director at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), following his death from leukaemia aged 83.
As one of the first specialists in neurology in the north-east, he moved to Aberdeenshire from London with his wife, Avril, in 1972 and immediately immersed himself in a variety of roles.
Whether enhancing the range of neurological expertise at ARI, running a 170-acre farm outside Kemnay, becoming a Justice of the Peace, or earning a reputation as a forward-thinking environmentalist who was never afraid to speak his own mind, he forged a strong bond with patients and students alike.
One of the latter, Dr Linda Gerrie, consultant neurologist at ARI, was among those who expressed her thanks and gratitude for Dr Hern’s positive impact.
She said: “I had the great pleasure of being taught by John as a student and as a neurology trainee – and then was appointed as his successor on his retirement.
“He was a very supportive mentor and a very considerate clinician.
“In his days as medical director, he would often finish that job mid-evening then come to the ward for a leisurely chat with his patients – in whose lives he took a great interest.
“Obviously, the subject of their health was discussed but John could, and usually did, discuss almost anything else of interest to them as well.
“His ability to do this came partly from extensive reading, but more importantly from the practical experience of being a farmer, a Justice of the Peace – and a father of four.
“He remained a close friend to the end and I shall miss him.”
The couple, who were married in London in 1968, had three sons, William, Nicholas and Jonathan and a daughter, Eleanor, and nine “magical” grandchildren.
Mrs Hern spoke movingly about how her husband, who gained a first-class degree at Oxford University, had continued to teach students in Inverness even after his retirement in 2000.
She said: “He specialised in neurology, but he never wanted to be just a consultant and one of the main reasons we moved to the north-east was because John had the opportunity to work with young people and develop their interest in medicine.
“Whenever he met patients, he always wanted to learn about their lives and not just talk about their illness. He was interested in others which is why he enjoyed teaching.
“He was also passionate about the carbon footprint we are leaving future generations and he stopped flying 20 years ago. Nature meant a lot to him and he was rarely happier than when he was walking around Bennachie or enjoying the Cairngorms.”