Dr. Maurice Anthony Verity remembered

Recent weeks in the world of Wargamerabbit have been saddened by the passing of my father on June 14th. Being a “master of ceremony” to his final moment, Dr. Maurice Anthony Verity (Tony) died in peaceful sleep with all the family members present at his bedside. Mom holding his hand, a simple breath, then the room was silent.

My Father Dr. Maurice Anthony Verity PHd

Dr. Maurice Anthony Verity  1931-2014

Born Maurice Anthony Verity on April 1931 in Leeds, he was trained as a medical doctor specializing in pathology (neuropathology). After serving internships at NHS hospitals (St Mary’s) in London, Wolverhampton and Portsmouth, My father left England to go to Los Angeles in 1959 * and began serving a residency at UCLA’s School of Medicine in 1960. He was one of the early founding professors at UCLA Medical School. He remained a part of the hospital staff and doubled as a university professor for more than 50 years. He also served for more than 20 years as a deputy coroner for the Los Angeles coroner’s office.

* WR came across later in 1959 on the RMS Mauritania with my mom at six months of age. Had my “sea legs” at an early age per my mom chasing me with a fast crawl. I still have my booking and ship passenger list from that voyage to the new world.

Nov 7, 2014    WR added updated media material at end of blog covering the Dr. Verity U.C.L.A. Remembrance Nov 6, 2014.

As a young lad before going to Denstone College.

As a young lad before going to Denstone College then went to St Mary’s of London.

Wedding day to my mom; Valerie Ann

Wedding day to my mom; Valerie Ann

It's the Wargamerabbit  in his baptizing gown. the gown dates back to the Victorian era in my family.

It’s the Wargamerabbit in his baptizing gown. The gown dates back to the Victorian era in my family.

Santa Monica beach outing. Always seek the high ground.

Santa Monica beach outing. Always seek the high ground I say.

UCLA cricket ground besides Pauley pavilion.

UCLA University Cricket club pitch besides the newly built Pauley pavilion. Remember those Coach Wooden years? The UCLA Med School red brick building in distant background.

Yep, he played cricket on the weekend. Every summer the family traveled with the US cricket team.

Yep,.. Like all Englishmen he played cricket on the weekend. Every summer the family traveled with the US cricket team. Wargamerabbit does know the game and can bat, field or bowl the red cricket ball.

With the UCLA University Cricket team in the early 60's.

With the UCLA University Cricket team in the early 60’s. He is standing at right side of photo.

On tour to Canada (Toronto). I still remember scoring that game.

On tour to Canada (Toronto). I still remember scoring that game so many years ago. Also saw Fort York, Fort Niagara and Fort George on that trip.

Quick note on cricket in the United States. The game of cricket has been played since the founding days of the United States. The first International game of any sport was a cricket match (Test) back in 1844 (US vs. Canada). Cricket was America’s pastime sport till the late 1890’s and has over 30,000 players, in clubs around the US, of our modern times.

Hollywood Cricket Club

Southern California Cricket Assoc. (SCCA) banquet with Mom (60's).

Southern California Cricket Assoc. (SCCA) banquet with Mom (60’s). Cricket function of course.

Must be his birthday.

Must be his birthday (70’s).

At my brother's wedding.

At my brother’s wedding (80’s).

Awarded for his other life pleasure - his artwork.

Awarded for his another life’s pleasure – his artwork.

At is traveling art show booth. Both Daniel and I traveled to assist in set up and takedown more often than we wish to count. Best time... 56 minutes.

At his traveling art show booth. Both Daniel and I traveled to assist in set up and takedown more often than we wish to count. Best time… 56 minutes. There are tales about his sweater collection.

These photos are but a small glance of my father’s world.  Even as I write these short sentences his co-workers at UCLA, fellow cricket player around the world, former medical school (international) students now medical doctors, artists in the local art guild, all are sending thoughts on life’s interactions with my father and condolences to my family. My father wasn’t just an Englishman, nor an American, he belonged to the world it seems.

ESPN article on my father and USA cricket highly worth the reading: ESPN Cricket Verity

United States Cricket Assoc site: USACA

United States cricket background material:  US Cricket

Leo Magnus Cricket Complex in Los Angeles where my father played and umpired: Leo Magnus CC

M. Anthony Verity, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Pathology (Neuropathology):  Brain Research Institute at UCLA

My wargaming path never crossed his busy professional career or his artwork, but it did in some small way his cricket world. Whenever we toured / traveled the USA or Europe, I would try to seek the local historical sites nearby. Castles in England and Wales, Fort Niagara in New York, Fort York in Toronto Canada and many others. Lastly, it was his christmas gift back in 1969 of the AH Panzerblitz which sparked my interest in boardgaming till I found the little miniature warfare booklet in London’s Victoria station one summer in 1971 (on tour). That started the life long process of collecting books and miniatures, painting the miniatures, rule and scenario writing for the miniatures…. that still goes on to this day.

Your life was full Dad and we all loved you. Mom, Michael (WR), Neil and Alicia plus your five grand children.

Rest in Peace Dad. You can umpire the cricket games in heaven now.

Dad Memonial card

Michael aka WR

P.S. Even recently, every time I used my father’s car I still glance and check the back seat to see if there is human brain tissue or similar biopsy material. Explaining that to your girlfriend in those distant past days of youth was priceless.

Updated Nov 7, 2014 by WR

U.C.L.A. Remembrance and Celebration on Career of Dr. M. Anthony Verity, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP (London) Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Neuropathology UCLA 1959-2014 held November 6, 2014 at UCLA NPI.

Remembrance pamlet cover on the career of my father Dr M. Anthony Verity at UCLA.

Remembrance pamphlet cover on the career of my father Dr M. Anthony Verity at UCLA.

Dr. Verity Remembrance (.pdf) pamphlet. Note, large scanned document so use slide viewer bar to see entire document.

Photos taken during the Remembrance and Celebration event held, true to my father, in the very hallway, offices, and the dedicated (2000) neuropathology education center in his name.

Plague on wall of the Dr. Verity education center

Wall plaque Dr. M. Anthony Verity Neuropathology Education Center.

Dr Harry Vinters MD, head of Neuropathology at UCLA. A close friend and colleague of my father.

Dr Harry Vinters MD, head of Neuropathology at UCLA. A close friend and colleague of my father.

Tina, the gracious lady who kept my father on schedule and organized his mountains of papers. Rumored another decade should complete the job.

Tina, the gracious lady who kept my father on schedule and organized his mountains of papers. Rumored another decade should complete the job.

Some views of the general “hallway action”. The actual Remembrance and Celebration was held in the conference auditorium with guests and speakers (see Remembrance pamphlet) then soon moved to the classic “hallway” common for UCLA NPI events.

The "hallway" central to the UCLA NPI and common ground for their free roaming events.

The “hallway” central to the UCLA NPI and common ground for their free roaming events. Nothing structured about this group of Dad’s colleagues and staff.

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Dr Harry Vinters MD, head of Neuropathology at UCLA. A close friend and colleague of my father.

Dr Harry Vinters MD, head of Neuropathology at UCLA. A close friend and colleague of my father.

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Still have the "classical wall cabinet" brains on view. Back in the late 60's WR viewed these same materials.

Still have the “classical wall cabinet” encased human brains on view. Back in the late 60’s WR viewed these same materials. Proof time doesn’t change it seems.

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Dad's former office and "work cave" when out of the actual laboratory.

Dad’s former office and “work cave” when out of the actual laboratory.

Quick walkabout the stomping grounds of WR’s youth. Many saturday was spent by WR roaming the halls of UCLA Medical center, hospital and school. Fun checking out the unlocked rooms and finding passageways to nowhere it seemed. Laboratories, medical school lectures, actual live operations viewed from the student viewing glass ceiling room, very hazardous chemicals at fingertips, the “cold room” with complete human specimens of brains, hearts, lungs …etc, and my favorite, the electron microscope. Plus the fun of working the lab bench with Dad… but not understanding what I was looking at…. blood cells, muscle cells, funny shaped pink things in my brain’s summary.

Brother Neil standing in the actual laboratory space where Dad did his lab work. See the video for walk about viewing.

Brother Neil standing in the actual laboratory space where Dad did his lab work. See the video for lab walk about viewing.

YouTube video visit of Dad’s lab and education center:  Dad’s Lab

Chair still in place but vacant.

Chair still in place but vacant.

Nowadays the chemicals are locked away.... but WR remembers another time.

Nowadays the chemicals are locked away…. but WR remembers another time pre OSHA.

Didn't have these signs back then...... Dad's name recently removed.

Didn’t have these signs back then…… Dad’s name recently removed.

East hallway the same.... imagine a young boy roaming the hallway far into the distance.

East hallway the same…. imagine a young boy roaming the hallway far into the distance. Medical school there I went.

UCLA NPI hallway. The "cold room" door at left.

UCLA NPI hallway. The “cold room” door down a bit and at left.

The “Cold Room”. Father was strict about entering that room. Always follow the “five-minute rule” as breathing in the preservative chemicals didn’t improve your health. WR learned more about the human body and organs in that room then any textbook. Something about holding real human brains and tissue drives the lesson home it seems.

The "Cold Room". Igor of Frankenstein fame would find all the human parts needed behind that door.

The “Cold Room”. Igor of Frankenstein fame would find all the human parts needed behind that door.

One day WR was a bit bored so Dad gave me the instruction to their recently acquired electron microscope. Read up the basic operations…. then flipped the switch. Learned all about how to make tissue slides, view them and understand somewhat the lesson plan.

The former electron microscope room.

The former electron microscope room. The “Caution X-Ray” sticker caught WR’s eye back then…. had to find out why… being a youth of tender age.

Time marches on, even in the world of academia UCLA. Some will remember the white-haired Englishman who came in 1959. His joy of work laid the stepping-stones on the fields of modern neuropathology and neurochemistry and touched many remaining in the halls of UCLA’s NPI. Like my father, they all strive towards continuing the advance of science and the betterment of mankind. His legacy.

WR hops forward and remembers the father he was.

WR (Nov 7, 2014)

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12 thoughts on “Dr. Maurice Anthony Verity remembered

  1. My condolences for your loss, Michael. A most handsome looking fellow (must be where WR comes by it) who lived a full life marked by his contributions to his profession, his love of “the game”, his art, and of course his family! Sutrely a life to be celebrated, as much as his loss is mourned.

    • Peter,
      Hard to write a summary on one’s father. My feeble attempt just scratches the surface on his long life and what he did at UCLA. Few know that he was one of two pathology specialists who handled the early AIDS cases before the knowledge of AIDS was known at UCLA. His 1970’s study on mercury poisoning with an international team lead to our modern knowledge of mercury effects on human nerve tissue. USA cricket taken to the International level reviving the cricket past between Canada and USA. Officially he was still working at UCLA and the LA coroner’s office two weeks into his final illness (April). He dictating his letters of resignation to my sister from his hospital bed. Somehow he also found the time in his final years to care for my mom (she is disabled), umpire and coach youth cricket games and do his artwork.

      All I can say and remember him…. what a Dad.

      Michael

      P.S. Seems there is a bit of resemblance with my Dad…. genes I guess

      • There are some risks unique to neuropathology, as his work with tissue infected with HIV before it was even known to be a viral infection remionds us. Anything that hje did that helped us understand and eventuallly combat that damned disease was a help – it struck just as I was starting my residency in 1981; first we were reading about these weird infections and diseases in SF and LA, and in l;ess than 2 years we startd seeing cases ourselves. I watched far too many nice young guys die of it back in the day.

        Chronic mercury poisoning is certainly another area where better understanding has helped us lessen our exposure and the consequences thereof!

  2. Sorry for your loss, but I must say had full life. A son(you) that look a lot like him in some of the photo’s.thanks for sharing this part of your life.

    Sent from my Veriz

  3. Thank you for sharing his life with us! Thank you for letting us be a part of his life until the end! He has coached and trained generations of pathologists and even in his passing he continues to inspire us. I was so lucky to have met, trained and worked with him. Such capable minds are rare to come by. As I was sorting out his office at work I realized that it did not need sorting after all. Everything was to be left as is. Nothing was superfluous or out of place. There is so much of him in every corner that one cannot in honesty talk about him in a past tense.

  4. Dear Michael,
    My name is Alan Biggin. Your dad and I were close friends during our boyhoods and I was sorry to hear of his passing. I offer you and your Mom and siblings my sincere condolences. Unfortunately I know nothing of his life for the last sixty years, but can tell you a little about his early years. My daughter discovered your Dad on the internet about a year ago: I wrote to him several months ago, but got no reply, not surprising, perhaps, after so many years of silence. We have just moved into the 21st century and have recently bought our first computer, an iPad, and this is my first attempt at sending an email.
    Your Dad and I first met when we were about eleven years old. We lived 500yds apart in Bradford. He lived on Norman Lane and I lived on Wrose (silent W) Road, both of which converged at a junction called Five Lane Ends. We both went to boarding schools at the time, he in Harrogate and I in London. My mother was in the Nora Fox Players and our mothers introduced us: from then on we both had a playmate during school holidays. We went to Denstone together in 1945 and left together in 1949. We both did medicine, he at St Mary’s and I at Leeds Medical School. The last time we met was at his 21st birthday bash. By then we were both into our clinicals and had little free time.
    As boys we spent a lot of time together: we cycled the Yorkshire Dales, played tennis ,went swimming, roller scating: we even went to dancing classes (ballroom). There were a few other boys from Denstone, who also lived in Bradford, so we had a good social life as well.
    Your Dad obviously had a very full and fulfilling life: he was clearly very eminent in his field and I am sure you were all very proud of him. I am just sorry we lost touch.
    I spent most of my practice life(GP) in Australia, but our children returned to the UK one by one as they acquired English partners: hence we are domiciled in the UK again.
    Kind regards,
    Alan Biggin.

  5. I’m so sorry to learn of your dad’s death late last year. I was one of his graduate students in the mid-1980s, and my memories of your dad were of a very energetic and upbeat, atypical scientist. No doubt your grandmother’s influence? I understood she had been an actress (in Lancashire?). Your father was bigger than life and left a huge and positive impression on me. My sympathies to your entire family.

    Brenda Seidman

  6. I’m so sorry to learn of Tony’s passing so late. I can only say that I am crushed. He was a gentleman’s gentleman, and always kind to me. He actually advised me on one of my early papers, but humbly declined to be thanked in the acknowledgement section. I particularly liked his constant “up beat” personality. I believe I speak, belatedly,for many when I say, “The world is not quite the same.” God bless your family.

    Xavier Caro, MD

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