Dr Mary Hart

A BUDLEIGH Salterton doctor who was much-loved by her patients long after her retirement has died.

A BUDLEIGH Salterton doctor who was much-loved by her patients long after her retirement has died.

D Mary Hart, of Moorlands Road, worked for medical practices in Exeter, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton. She was also involved in Family Planning clinics and advising on adoptions in various parts of Devon.

During her long career in the medical profession, Dr Mary worked in many local UK clinics and GP practices, and was a civilian medical officer in Singapore hospital.

After she retired, Dr Mary began volunteering at Fairlynch Museum where she took on responsibility for organising the rota for the volunteer stewards.

It was when she turned of 84 she decided that it was time for a younger volunteer to step into her shoes.

But her love of tracing family history meant she continued cataloguing and sorting scores of museums archives until she became ill in February 2009.

Most Read

During the last 12 months of her life Dr Mary was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

When the disease failed respond to treatment, daughter Lizzie Hoskins said her mother faced her illness with 'great stoicism and dignity'.

Mrs Hoskins said her mother's death would leave a 'huge gap' in the life of all her family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"She was a highly intelligent woman who had an endlessly enquiring mind," said Mrs Hoskins. "She could multitask for years before it became fashionable - it was a family joke that Granny could read, knit, watch television and still win at cards.

"She was known as the family's fount of all knowledge - had any of the family ever appeared on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, she was the friend they would have phoned. Even though she said she would be useless on pop music or soap operas, she even seemed to manage to have some knowledge of those too.

"She was one of the original 'techno-grannies', quickly mastering the computer skills she needed to play on-line games with her grandchildren and keep up with her widespread relations on email and Skype.

"Although she retired in 1988, she hardly ever walked down the High Street without being hailed by a former patient, something she really appreciated."

Born on May 25 1923 to Albert and Winifred Sawday in Derby, where her father was a GP, young Mary grew up in North London.

It was living in Kent that Mary met the boy she would later marry.

Making friends with the Hart family - holidaying from Sittingbourne - romance blossomed between their eldest son, Robert, and Mary.

Robert later lodged with the Sawday family after winning a place at medical school, and he married Mary on July 20, 1946.

Dr Mary sat her final exams a year later, while pregnant with the couple's eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

The couple went on to have three more children, Alison, Crispin and Timothy.

After working and living in Nigeria, the family returned to the UK to Kent, then Exmouth - eventually settling in Budleigh Salterton in 1968, when they bought Howewath, in Moorlands Road.

Dr Mary was widowed in 1995 after nursing her much-loved husband through a stroke.

Daughter Lizzie said: "During the last 14 years she enjoyed her growing family of 11 grandchildren, their various spouses, and seven grandchildren, and has taken great pride in all their achievements.

"She always took a great interest in the travels of all the family, finding out information about the various places that the visited or settled.