Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, on Saturday joined hundreds of mourners at the forecourts of the State House, Accra to bid farewell to Dr Titus Aruna Morton, a distinguished medical practitioner who passed away in November 2013.
Dr. Morton is recognised as the first Ghanaian doctor to establish a private medical practice and was for years a personal physician of President Nkrumah.
In a tribute read on his behalf, President Rawlings described Dr Morton as a mild mannered but disciplined personality whose kind are in short supply nowadays.
Dr Morton who died at the age of 95 left behind a wife and thirteenoffspring.
Please find below President Rawlings’ full tribute to Dr. Morton.
TRIBUTE BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS
Dr Titus Aruna Morton was a significant feature of my childhood.
He was a towering figure in the Adabraka neighbourhood where I lived with my African-sized family. Being our family doctor and a neighbour, I encountered him often. He was a mild-mannered but disciplined personality.
Dr Morton’s mild mannered nature was obviously inherited by most of his children. My cousins and I who did not possess those calmer traits always took advantage of their reserved nature and controlled playground affairs in their own compound.
My greatest memory of his household was the abundance of banana and other fruit trees that bore such succulent fruits, which became the regulartarget of my cousins and I. I remember how we sometimes fed off a whole bunch of banana, which had been hung on a chain in the veranda.
Those were the days when you could visit other people’s homes and enjoy the fruits of their backyard garden and enjoy we did. Well, there were those few occasions when our banana feasting antics were met with the irritated tone of the mistress of the house.
Dr Morton represented the era of environmental consciousness. The era when trees were a significant part of each household and hedges were well manicured and pruned to serve as household boundaries.
He loved birds and had an aviary full of budgerigars. I spent long periods daily, observing the colourful birds.
That was the era when you found long canopies of trees when you drove out of Accra and flocks of migratory birds were a beautiful and common sight especially in the many swamps, which have now been destroyed by humanhabitation. Of course the population then was not more than six million.
Interestingly, though the level of academic development and achievement was lower, people exhibited a higher sense of social and moral responsibility in those days.
Environmental cleanliness was strictly adhered to then and the filth and rubbish we find strewn across our cities and towns nowadays was simply non-existent. Today our beaches have become an embarrassing eyesore that many parents are wary of sending their children out there to swim or just play in the sands.
Our lack of environmental discipline is largely a contributory factor to the scourge of indiscipline and corruption that has engulfed our society.
I do not know if the respected doctor had the opportunity to drive around town in his final days. It must have been a tough experience taking in the harsh deterioration of our environment.
People like Dr Morton are in short supply nowadays. Growing and taking up leadership responsibility I often paused and wondered how Dr Morton related with President Nkrumah. As a physician to Ghana’s first President I am convinced he did not hesitate to offer sound advice that would have had some sobering effect.
On a couple of occasions we had to wait a little longer to see Dr Morton when I had malaria because Dr Nkrumah was reportedly around. Once I was in the consulting room with my mother and Dr Morton when he whispered to my mum and we had to leave the consulting room for a while. I was later to learn Dr Nkrumah had called to see the respected doctor.
I must say that it took a lot to be a man when it came to receiving injections then. Today we have small ‘designer’ syringes that evoke no fear. Those days the smallest syringe was huge and frightening and the sight of it being taken out of the sterilising boiler and assembled could make you shiver.
Dr Morton loved his community and offered significant social service such that his medical facility used to give free service to many disadvantaged patients.
Then, it was fashionable to say I am going to Dr Morton whenever you had to go and see any doctor. His name was synonymous with professional medical care.
I was privileged to see Dr Morton a few weeks before he took leave of us and I am content I did not let the opportunity go by when Ashim brought the invitation.
You have paid your dues Dr Titus Aruna Morton. You left a mark on many lives including the thirteen children you fathered with your one and only wife. It does not seem that you both cared much for family planning. Thankfully they have all grown up into successful professionals in various spheres of life.
You will be sorely missed.
Fare thee well Sir.