Published: 9 February 2017
It is with great sadness that I convey to you the passing of Dr Andrew Butcher.
Andrew passed away peacefully on December 8 after suffering from the debilitating illness, MND. Despite the decline in his health over the last few years and dealing with the passing of Wendy, his wife, last year, Andrew remained very positive and continued to do as much as he could to catch up and celebrate life with friends, family and colleagues at every opportunity. His outlook on life was incredible right to the end.
Andrew was involved and made a significant contribution to ASM throughout most of his working life, across a 20-year time period. The following summarises Andrew’s life with ASM.
Andrew was involved in the society since 1993 and had numerous roles and responsibilities both within the SA NT Branch and at a National Level. In 1993 he first joined the SA NT Branch as a committee member and remained on the committee right up until his retirement in 2013.
Soon after joining the committee Andrew became heavily involved in the branch. He was the branch Scientific Meetings Convenor from 1994 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2002. From 1994 Andrew also took on the role of State ASM Convenor of the Special Interest Group in Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, a position he held until 2010.
From 1995 to 1997 he was part of the Local Organising Committee for the ASM Adelaide 1997 National Scientific Meeting and the Social Program Chairperson. As many remember it was a hugely successful national meeting with a fantastic social program. If that wasn’t enough he accepted a nomination of ASM SA NT Branch Committee Chair and was in that position from 2002 to 2004.
Not long after this in 2006, whilst still remaining on the branch committee, he became the Scientific Program Chair on the Local Organising Committee for ASM National Scientific Meeting in Adelaide in 2007. His organisational skills and contribution were immeasurable, resulting in yet another very successful National meeting in Adelaide.
Andrew had a keen interest in parasitology. Earlier in his career, under the supervision of Professor David Grove, Andrew undertook his PhD studies of an unusual helminth infection associated with the consumption of helicid land snails (small white land snails) in patients on the Yorke Peninsula. This work culminated in the naming of a new species of intestinal trematode worm, Brachylaima cribbi, which reported the first human infections with this genus of trematode.
It wasn’t any surprise then when Andrew also took on the National ASM Convenor of the Parasitology and Tropical Medicine SIG role. He held this position for 6 years, from 2006 to 2012, during which time he managed to instigate visits from a number of international speakers to Australia, particularly world renowned Parasitologist Lyn Garcia.
Andrew continued to contribute to ASM right up until his retirement by remaining on the ASM SA NT Branch Committee until 2013 and remained a current member of ASM.
He contributed not only to the ongoing life of the organisation but instigated and helped to provide invaluable learning experiences for ASM members and the wider Microbiology community. He was not only a regular presenter but also organised many parasitology workshops and seminars at local, national and international ASM meetings over many years.
Andrew was also an adjunct lecturer in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of South Australia. His involvement included providing material and presenting and supervising specialist lectures and practical workshops in Parasitology to Laboratory Medicine students. In doing so he gave many students the benefit of his many years of experience in diagnostic microbiology and encouraged them to pursue careers in this area and be involved in ASM. Andrew received an ASM Distinguished Service Award in 2015 for his immeasurable contribution to ASM and Microbiology as a whole over many years.
Andrew will be greatly missed by his many work and ASM friends and colleagues.
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