Dr Kim Fields a long serving Doctor for the Lithgow Community passed away on Friday, 24th July.
Dr Fields came to Lithgow in 1950 as a Resident Medical Officer at Lithgow Hospital, initially for a 12 months appointment.
In 1951 Dr Fields was invited to join the Medical Practice with Drs Hannam, Christian and Leslie. It was during this period of his life that he also met and married his first wife, nursing sister Daphne Partridge. They had four children- Roslyn, Elise (dec), Adrian and Fenella. Dr Fields shared 35 years of marriage with Daphne until she passed away from illness.
In 1988 Dr Fields remarried. His wife, Janice, worked at Lithgow Hospital as the Deputy Director of Nursing following a move from Sydney.
Dr and Mrs Fields were active members of the Lithgow community with involvement in Rotary where Dr Fields was a Paul Harris Fellowship recipient. They were also keen Rotary Youth Exchange supporters, being hosts to several international students. Many hours of enjoyment were also spent bushwalking in the region.
Dr Fields was born in Australia on 22nd September 1922 and his birth name was Kimiyo Miyata. His father was Japanese, having come to Australia to teach Japanese at Fort Street Boys High School and Sydney University from 1919 to 1923. His mother was from Camden NSW.
The family took up residence in Tokyo in 1923. They, and their small wooden Japanese house were extremely fortunate to survive the devastating effects of the Great Kanto Earthquake which occurred on September 21st of that year. The death toll from the quake and the subsequent tsunami and fires was estimated to have exceeded 140,000 people.
In 1936 the young teenager was sent to Australia to spend time living with his mother's relatives in Camden, Canberra and Cootamundra while continuing his education. On his return to Japan he gained entry to the prestigious Tokyo Imperial University where he undertook his medical studies. Although he did not often discuss his life in Japan during the war, he did feel it was somewhat of a miracle that this university escaped the flames from the carpet bombing of Tokyo, carried out towards the end of the war. The resultant massive fires took the lives of more than 100,000 citizens and casualties were treated by the University's medical trainees.
Following the Japanese surrender, Australian born Dr Fields was offered 'repatriation' to Australia. He often reflected on his decision to take up this offer as he was given only 24 hours to make his choice. He sailed back to Australia on the HMS Mercury in 1946, along with twelve army officers who were returning home, leaving his younger brother George (dec) and his parents in Japan.
Arriving back in post-war Sydney, Kimiyo Miyata changed his name by deed poll to Kim Fields. Although a graduate of Tokyo Imperial University, he initially had difficulty getting the NSW Medical Board to accept his qualifications. After six months he was allowed to undertake medical studies at Sydney University where he passed his final exams in 1949. He was appreciative of having been readily accepted by his student cohort, as Japan at the time was still technically at war with Australia.
His three years at Sydney Uni were recounted as among some of his happiest times.
Dr Fields worked as a General Practitioner in Lithgow until his retirement in 1990. He was well respected in the community for his medical expertise and his professionalism. His obstetric skills ensured many Lithgow citizens arrived safely and he also held the position of Government Medical Officer, for more than 25 years.
Dr and Mrs Fields moved to Sydney in 2000 where they enjoyed their retirement together. Dr Fields has been privately cremated as per his wishes.