Leonard Teye-Botchway (1955-2019)
Leonard Teye-Botchway, a Ghanaian-born surgeon and former Olympic runner who gave up his athletic ambitions to devote himself to medicine, has died at 64.
The father of three moved to the island in 1994 with his wife, Ronita, and pioneered ophthalmology in Bermuda.
He became the island’s first honorary consul for Ghana in Bermuda in January 2011, organising diplomatic and humanitarian links between the countries. Originally from Accra, the Ghanaian capital, Dr Teye-Botchway was educated at the University of Ghana Medical School.
His late uncle, John Atta Mills, who died in 2012, served as president of the West African republic.
His brother-in-law, Kern Reid, described him as a deeply committed Christian and “innate diplomat, who always lifted people up”.
Dr Reid added: “He was hugely generous; I consider him a brother. When I would bring my family to Bermuda, he would not let me pay for anything.
“He always had a positive outlook and always kept a good relationship. It was his inherent nature.”
A keen runner, including marathons, Dr Teye-Botchway joined Ghana’s Olympic team in the 1970s and became West African champion over 400 metres.
Andrew Morrell, a fellow ophthalmologist in Britain, where Dr Teye-Botchway went to study, said: “You would never have known. He was outstanding in everything he did.”
Calling Dr Teye-Botchway “my deepest and truest friend”, Dr Morrell said the two met in 1988 at the University Hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Dr Teye-Botchway was on the training rotation there.
The two men worked together at Leeds in 1993, where Dr Teye-Botchway met his Bermudian wife.
Dr Morrell added: “Ronita was doing a degree at the University of Leeds. They met through the church.”
Dr Teye-Botchway was “an exemplary doctor, highly skilled, but with the compassion that not everybody has”, he said.
“Not only did he run a very busy clinic, and serve as consul for Ghana, he was an assessor for Paralympian athletes.
“In his work, he revolutionised ophthalmology in Bermuda. He introduced the latest techniques and technology.
“He helped every single person he came into contact with; I don’t know how he did it all.”
Dr Teye-Botchway keenly competed in road races in Bermuda, including the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby.
He helped organise the Eye Institute Classic 5K, a popular road race held in the East End, which relocated this year to Devonshire for its 16th anniversary.
Dr Teye-Botchway was the medical director for the Bermuda International Institute of Ophthalmology, where his abrupt passing on Tuesday, left colleagues in shock.
Dawn Burgess, a technician of 12 years, said Dr Teye-Botchway believed in continuing education and “always pushed us to go one step further”.
Leonie Curtis, the institute’s receptionist and a close family friend, described him as “fair and considerate, slow to anger and forgiving; truly a Christlike man”.
She added: “He was a man of few words, but very deep and compassionate. We love him with all our hearts.”
Carol Ross-DeSilva, the operations manager, called him “a world-renowned ophthalmologist, and too good to be true”.
She said the clinic would be closed for business tomorrow, but would remain open for friends to sign a book of condolences.
The High Commission of the Republic of Ghana yesterday called Dr Teye-Botchway “dedicated and indefatigable” and offered condolences on behalf of Ghana’s president, foreign minister, Government and people to his family.
David Burt, the Premier, said: “Dr Teye-Botchway was a well-respected eye surgeon and served his homeland Ghana very well as honorary consul.
“Only recently I had the pleasure of hosting him and the Ghanaian High Commissioner to London for talks during the High Commissioner’s visit to Bermuda. His untimely passing comes as a tremendous shock.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I wish to express sincere condolences to his wife, three sons and entire family.”
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