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View Full Version : Robert Maximillian Kenedi - we mourn



bfinlay47
09-21-1998, 11:56 PM
It's with the greatest sadness that I read of Bobbie Kenedi's recent
death. Both he and Tom Gibson moulded not just my scientific mind but
also my love of literature - both science and poetry.

A couple of simple items serve as a measure of their generosity and
ethical dealings with their students and staff that made them so
well-loved. As an Assistant Lecturer in Bioengineering at Strathclyde,
my first draft journal manuscript was virtually rewritten by Bobbie
Kenedi ("The Prof" as we respectfully called him in those days) and when

I'd reformed it to incorporate all his changes, I resubmitted it to him
with his name as an author - he laughed as he crossed out his name,
saying "that's not necessary". There aren't too many profs these days
(or even then) that encourage their young to fly alone. A year later he

had an invitation to present a paper at a NATO conference in Portugal.
He couldn't attend, and had that same junior lecturer write and present
the summary of Strathcylde's work on the impact and mechanical
properties of skin. That time, both I and my PhD student, Jim North,
appeared as lead authors with Kenedi and Gibson - and Jim and I were
duly sent off to Portugal to present the paper.

I was with Bobbie Kenedi one time when he was pondering over the large
number of his students that were then working in far-flung corners of
the globe (there are even more now). He was musing over the risk to
one's reputation of sending these folk off by themselves - but that
didn't change his conviction to helping folk grow to, and exceed, the
limits of their abilities. Though he would never have had the temerity
to express it as such, Strathclyde's Bioengineering disciples are out
there spreading the word.

Bobbie Kenedi and Tom Gibson formed an incredible team, and The Prof
would often use Tom Gibson's poems as messages, introductions, or
endings to his talks. The most well-remembered of these poems has to be

The Engineer which is included in Tom's booklet of Poems and
Versifications. I like to think that the first verse glorifies the
Engineer and Bioengineering, while the last verse warns that we should
not get carried away with our elated status. As a tribute to Bobbie and

Tom, here are those two verses:

They're infiltrating every sphere, except perhaps Theology
And now we find the Engineer researching in Biology.
There on the operating floor, if you should stop and peer
Mid surgeons ankle-deep in gore, you'll find an Engineer.

The human body's parts are infinitely complicate
And yet you know, they're still by far the simplest to create.
Let love and birth, the soul, the mind stay free from racketeers,
God grant that never human kind are built by Engineers.

Their passings mark the end of an era . . .

It's with tears and a lump in my throat that I personally thank them for

their love, devotion, enthusiasm, and all those other attributes that
they so generously passed on to me and others. . .

But a hauf and a hauf remains the same
And we'll no' forget the legends and names . . .

They'll be many a dram downed in Bobbie's name during the next few weeks

- slainte!

Thanks to John Paul for the notice. For those who do not know, John was

the third member of The Trio that created the fame and legend of
Bioengineering at Strathclyde - a legend that was formed on extreme
competence but, above all, modesty.


Bryan Finlay.
Director of Flow Technologies
Trudell Medical International
London, Ontario, Canada.

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