1925 – 27th October 1998
Pilot made his name in medicine
Dr. Eric Furness was born in Adelaide in 1925 and educated at Unley High School, Dr. Furness took a curious path to medicine.
He had a passion for flying and in 1943, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the RAAF. He was too young to see action, but the war claimed his brother, Jack who was shot down over the German border. After the war
Eric Furness headed to Perth, where he bought an old World War I Tiger Moth for 200 pounds.
Returning to Adelaide, he became the State's first crop-duster pilot in 1948. In the same year, he married Elwyn Smart. The couple had four children and were together until Elwyn's death in 1991.
In 1951 Eric Furness joined the then Australian National Airways as a pilot, staying with the company until 1960.
He also found time to complete a Bachelor of Science degree at Adelaide University. While studying science, Eric Furness became interested in medicine and in 1964, graduated. He became a specialist obstetrician-gynaecologist in 1969.
In the early 1970s he studied in Glasgow with the pioneer of ultra sound, Professor Ian McDonald. Later Dr. Furness became the first medical specialist in Adelaide to use ultra-sound in obstetrics and gynaecology.
In 1974, Dr. Furness became a household name, delivering the Kyriazis quadruplets. He later recalled the ultra sound treatment on Mary Kyriazis: "There were heads all over the place. I thought the machine was faulty," he said.
From 1976 to 1990, Dr Furness was the senior visiting medical specialist at Flinders Medical Centre.
In 1992 he married Alice Crowther, a former nurses' tutor he met in the 1960s when he was house surgeon at the Edgeware General Hospital, London. The couple travelled the world until Dr. Furness retired in 1995 to his award-winning orchids at his Coromandel Valley home.
Dr. Furness passed away in 1998. The Governor at the time, Sir Eric Neal, an old friend described Dr. Furness as "a great South Australian who made a significant contribution to this State and a man I'm proud to call a friend.
Reproduced from the Adelaide Advertiser
During his flying days Eric flew DC4s and DC6Bs.
George Egerton who retired from Ansett several years ago spent some time fishing with Eric in the Onkaparinga River. George said Eric was also a keen fly fisherman.