Obituary: Francis St. D. Rowntree. OBE. 1928-1996.

Frank, by which name he was well-known, suffered a severe heart attack and died in hospital on the 25th October 1996.

His working background was in public health and for which work he was awarded the OBE in 1986. In 1987 he was appointed Vice President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and also Vice President of the Institute of Health.

His interest in microscopy began at an early age. He joined the Manchester Microscopical Society as a novice at age 15 in 1943. In later years he became a member of the Royal, the Quekett, the Postal, the Sorby and the Leeds Microscopical Societies. He attended as many meetings as he could and always had something to say.

He had immense enthusiasm and energy for microscopy, which he loved, and his main concern was that people interested in amateur microscopy were nowadays mainly of the older age groups, and that efforts should be made to attract younger converts to this fascinating hobby. As such, Frank soon noticed the efforts of Micscape and pledged his full support for what we are trying to achieve. He gave freely of his time and vast experience and his vision was such that he saw what an opportunity communication via computers around the globe could give the hobby of microscopy.

Frank organised an annual meeting in Sheffield for all those interested in microscopy and these were always well attended (Editors note: see below). In addition he published thrice-yearly Sales and Wants and Fact-file lists which were a boon to amateur microscopists as well as making it possible for many a widow to dispose of their former husband's microscopes, books and equipment. His kindly nature and particularly the skill he showed in encouraging youngsters was self-evident to all those who met him. I will certainly always remember him as a very much larger than life character that immediately instigated a conversation with me at my first ever Midland Quekett meeting some years ago.

His death has left a large void in contacts for amateur microscopy and he will undoubtedly be missed by many members of the various societies. Though Frank's involvement with Micscape was only for a few months his vigorous and enthusiastic input will be sorely missed. People like Frank with such knowledge, ability and willingness to help are far too few.

The above is based upon a longer obituary written by Roy Winsby and published in the newsletter of the Manchester Microscopical and Natural History Society, January 1997. Many thanks to Roy for his permission to use it.

Obituary prepared by Mike Samworth.

Editor's note: The meeting continues organised by the Leeds Microscopical Society.


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