A FUNERAL service will be held at St Matthew’s Anglican Church next week to farewell and celebrate the life of Dr Ralph Peters OAM who served the Derwent Valley as a general practitioner and community worker for more than 50 years. Dr Peters, 96, died on January 14 after a short illness.
At the time of his retirement in 2019 at the age of 92, Dr Peters was the oldest currently-serving general practitioner in Tasmania and his was the last standalone medical practice in New Norfolk following Dr Micheil Sweet’s retirement several weeks earlier.
His rooms in the grounds of the New Norfolk District Hospital were subsequently incorporated into the neighbouring Derwent Valley Medical Centre and were named the Dr Ralph Peters Wing in a ceremony early last year. The co-owner of that centre, Dr Lester Pepingco, became Dr Peters’ GP.
Dr Pepingco said Dr Peters’ passing was a sad moment in the Derwent Valley’s history. “Dr Peters was an extraordinary inspiration to us all, a beacon of unwavering dedication and a pillar of the Derwent Valley’s healthcare,” he told New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News.
“His decades of service as a GP will forever be remembered, and his kindness and expertise have left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. It was an honour to have served as Dr Peters’ GP during the final years of his remarkable life,” Dr Pepingco said.
Dr Peters was described as the “textbook GP” by friend and former patient Craig Farrell MLC, the Member for Derwent and president of the Legislative Council. “He was a true gentleman and a caring person who will be missed and remember by all who had the pleasure to know him as a doctor and a friend,” Mr Farrell said.
“Dr Ralph L. Peters was the textbook general practitioner,” he said. “He greatly valued and respected his role in the community. Every patient was treated equally and he retained bulk billing so his patients were able to access medical services. If you needed medical assistance Dr Peters was there, day or night he would be available, and he made house calls for those who needed his service. He was respected and held in the highest regard by the community,” Mr Farrell said.
South African-trained Dr Peters arrived in New Norfolk with his family in November 1968. “It has been a privilege working here, the whole family is very proud of New Norfolk,” he told the News at the time of his retirement. His elder son, David, yesterday repeated that Dr Peters had regarded it as a privilege to use his medical skills and knowledge to care for the people of the Derwent Valley.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Dr David Peters expressed appreciation for the care his father received from Dr Pepingco, Corumbene and the New Norfolk District Hospital. The funeral service will be held at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Bathurst St, New Norfolk, at 10.30am on Wednesday, January 24. Donations to the New Norfolk District Hospital will be accepted at the service in lieu of flowers.
See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.