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Respected family doctor Jack Cantor dies aged 96

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A much-respected doctor who looked after generations of families across east Kent will be remembered as a "real gentleman" following his death aged 96.

Dr Jack Cantor, whose impressive career spanned six decades, died suddenly at his home in Faversham.

Dr Jack Cantor was a much-respected GP
Dr Jack Cantor was a much-respected GP

He was born in 1925 in Barking, Essex, the first child of Henry Cantor, a dentist, and his wife Florence, a former nursing sister.

Soon after the family moved to Ramsgate, before settling in Broadstairs.

Like so many of his generation, Dr Cantor's childhood was disrupted by the Second World War, with Thanet taken over by the military, forcing the family to move to Herne Bay, where he had a grandstand view of the Battle of Britain.

His schooling was also affected. For a year he was a day boy at King’s School in Canterbury, but was evacuated with other pupils to the West Country.

In 1944 he got a place to study medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, London, and it was at medical school that he met his future wife, Kathleen. They were married in 1950.

As a newly qualified doctor, he worked at the Kent & Canterbury hospital on the obstetrics and gynaecology wards.

In 1950 he joined the RAF to complete his National Service and was based first at Hendon and then RAF Wittering.

During his time as an RAF medical officer, he had to attend serious casualties and some fatalities from air crashes. He also found himself looking after some highly decorated airmen who had stayed in the RAF after the war. Several of them were suffering from what later became known to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Having left the RAF, Dr Cantor took up a post as a GP in Faversham in 1953.

He was on call out of hours every weekend bar one a month, and with 70% of babies delivered at home under the care of their GP at the time, he found himself a very busy man.

There are many people in Faversham who were delivered by Dr Cantor.

Dr Jack Cantor in his younger years
Dr Jack Cantor in his younger years

Over time Dr Cantor established himself as a popular GP and was instrumental in introducing an appointment system.

Prior to that the queue for morning surgery stretched literally around the block before the doors were opened at 9am.

He was warned by colleagues in other practices that the patients would not like it, but they were proved wrong. Before long all practices in Faversham had appointment systems.

Dr Cantor’s was overseen by his pharmacist, known to all as Mrs Spice, who remained with him as his pharmacist/receptionist until his retirement.

Dr Cantor would often be spotted striding along the high street, a tall and impeccably dressed gentleman. He was always polite and respectful of all.

He and his wife Kathleen were huge supporters of Faversham Cottage hospital. Many of Dr Cantor’s patients were cared for there and Kathleen worked tirelessly raising money for the hospital by organising the annual fete and sitting on various fundraising committees.

Dr Cantor retirement in 1991 lasted just three months.

He went to work as a part-time assistant at the Elham Valley Practice, where he stayed happily for the next six years.

When he wasn’t working, he had a wide variety of other interests.

He was a keen rugby player in his youth and continued to enjoy watching the sport and supporting his grandchildren on the touchline.

He was also a loyal member of Kent County Cricket Club, where he could be found for much of the summer.

"He was known in the town as a real gentleman. He also had a mischievous streak..."

He was a great hiker, striding out over the cliffs of north Cornwall, where many a family holiday was taken.

He and Kathleen were also keen travellers and visited most parts of the world, especially in their 60s and 70s when their son, Christopher, moved to Australia.

Dr Cantor leaves three children, Timothy, Christopher and Suzanne, five grandchildren, Elizabeth, John, Thomas, William and Edward, and three great-grandchildren, Kit, Fin and Emelia.

Both of Dr Cantor’s sons followed in his footsteps and became doctors, and his daughter became a nurse.

Kathleen, died last December, aged 94, and was missed dearly by her husband. They had been married for 70 years.

His family said of him: "He was known in the town as a real gentleman.

"He also had a mischievous streak. Dementia sadly robbed him of his memory, but he never lost his composure or dignity and remained a real gentleman to the very end."

Dr Cantor's funeral will be held at Charing Crematorium at 12.15pm on Thursday 25th.

Please contact Susie Fox on 07958 582594 if you wish to attend.

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham

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