Obituary: Emeritus Professor Jonathan C Peter


It is with sadness that we inform our neurosurgical colleagues that Emeritus Professor Jonathan C Peter died peacefully on 2 April 2018.

Jonathan contributed to the world of neurosurgery in many ways serving as president of both the College of Neurosurgeons and the Society of Neurosurgeons of SA, president of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (2002) and 2nd vice president of the World Federation (2002-2007).

Following internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1965, he spent a year in Neurology before proceeding to the Banting-Best Institute in Toronto as a Scott-Playfair Neurosurgical Research Fellow. He was later accepted onto the prestigious Gallie surgical training course to train as a surgeon in Toronto, but decided to return to South Africa.

After admission as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Jonathan commenced neurosurgical training under the guidance of Professor JC “Kay” de Villiers at the University of Cape Town where he formed lifelong friendships with his fellow trainees. Jonathan was also a talented musician however and after completing his neurosurgical training decided to follow the advice of his piano teacher Professor Laura Searle and devote 10 full years to the piano to see how good he could be. He did just that and in 1976 he stopped neurosurgery,  but after obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree in 1985, he decided it was time to return to neurosurgery- once again as a trainee!

He soon found himself running the paediatric neurosurgery service at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, established by his friend Warwick Peacock in 1979. Paediatric neurosurgery was to define the rest of his career, and he made important scientific contributions to the treatment of congenital disorders, spasticity, hydrocephalus and brain injury.

Jonathan was appointed as the second incumbent of the Helen and Morris Mauerberger Chair of Neurosurgery at UCT in 1994, and truly excelled as a teacher, mentor and leader. Following his retirement in 2007 he continued working with enthusiasm and energy and was respected and loved by all the department staff. He continued to teach in the UCT department until January this year. He has been a friend and advisor to many of us and will be sorely missed.

We send condolences to Agnes and to Elizabeth, Larissa and Jonny and their families, to Kim and Daniel Peter and wish they find comfort in the many happy memories they have of Jonathan.


Allan Taylor
SNSA President
Graham Fieggen
SNSA President Elect


April 2024