Tribute: John Kirby (1931–2021)

I was saddened to learn that John had passed away. I had known him for more than 30 years.

In 1991, John joined the organising committee for the annual conference of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which was to be held in Reading, Berkshire, in 1993, hosted by the Chiltern region of the Society. I was secretary of this committee and became well acquainted with him. He had excellent people skills and was responsible for the stewarding arrangements at the conference. After the conference was over, the committee and our spouses and partners continued to meet socially for many years, which was only interrupted on a temporary basis by the pandemic. 

I also worked alongside John in a couple of other areas. First, as a Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education tutor in Hertfordshire, and second in primary care while I was chief pharmacist at one of the county’s primary care trusts. He was always very supportive of any service developments we wished to introduce through community pharmacies and was a good sounding board when I needed advice. Had I been a community pharmacist, I would have undoubtedly modelled myself on John.

In 2005, the Hertford and District branch of the RPS was 50 years old. As I happened to be the chair that year, John gently pressurised me to stage a special meeting for the occasion. We decided to make the 2005 annual general meeting into an anniversary event with a reception and guest speakers. All the past chairs that were still living were invited and many attended. We were also graced by the presence of Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, representing Queen Elizabeth II.  

John was one of those individuals who never really retired on life. He enjoyed a wide circle of friends and colleagues supported by a wonderful family to whom we extend our condolences.

In his passing, pharmacy has lost one of its more remarkable personalities as well as a much loved and respected Fellow of the profession.

Mike Beaman FRPharmS

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2021, Vol 307, No 7955;307(7955)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.113402

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