Angela (Ann) Stuart Donaldson Marks (MBBS 1950)


Ann Marks led a life of remarkable achievement and sacrifice.

After a happy childhood and wonderful education at Presbyterian Ladies College, where she was dux of the school, Ann was one of just eleven women in a year of 220 to enrol in medicine at the University of Melbourne in 1945. Whilst at medical school, Ann met Brian Marks, her future husband. Brian topped the class in their final year, with Ann coming third, obtaining the exhibition in obstetrics and gynaecology.

After graduation, on 18 October 1950, Ann and Brian were married, becoming the first married couple to take up residency at Royal Melbourne Hospital in December that year. The constitution of the hospital had to be changed to permit this to occur and their room became known as the ‘honeymoon suite’. These were very happy years for Ann who considered practicing medicine a great privilege. She trained with or under leaders in their fields: Weary Dunlop, Sir Clive Fitts, Sir Albert Coates, Dame Kate Campbell, Sir Benjamin Rank and Sir Victor and Leslie Hurley.

Ann ceased practicing medicine in 1953 when the first of her children was born. She contemplated returning to practice but fate intervened and she never did. On 11 August 1967, Brian was killed in a car accident, at just 40 years of age, and Ann’s life was dealt a devastating blow. She was left with six children aged between five and 14 years old. With tenacity and support from her extended family she continued to care for her children as a single parent, including providing wonderful educational opportunities for them all. Her children became an engineer, a lawyer, a social worker, a haematologist, a paediatrician and an anaesthetist. Raising six children alone was Ann’s greatest achievement.

Ann’s interests included breeding cats and gardening. She became an expert camellia grower and judge and wrote a book entitled Successful Camellia Growing. She loved art, classical music, good food and wine, reading, sport, Apple computers and travel.

In 2009 Ann had a secondary brain tumour removed, with the primary in her lung. Able to live an independent and fulfilling life for many months, Ann retained her full mental capacities till the very end, even as her physical health deteriorated. She was able to choose how she died and did so with great dignity, surrounded by her family.

Ann is survived by her brother, her six children and nine living grandchildren.

Michael Marks, MBBS 1984

Drs Brian and Angela Marks