Dubai: Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the life and pay tribute to Dr John Marshall, the Indian physician who died in a car fire following an accident near Trade Centre roundabout on November 26.
Family members, friends, relatives, colleagues and patients of Dr Marshall, 60, who had served Dubai for over two decades, paid rich tributes to him at a memorial service held at the Holy Trinity Church in Oud Metha, before he was laid to rest in a cemetery in Jebel Ali.
Hailing from the south Indian state of Kerala, Dr Marshall was a well-known specialist internist with the Primacare Clinic of Avivo Group, formerly known as Al Musalla Medical Centre which he had founded along with two other partners.
Around 500 people, mostly dressed in black and of different nationalities offered condolences to Dr Marshall’s wife Dr Sisy Marshall and their two daughters Rebecca and Rachel, who are both studying medicine in Bahrain.
They remembered him as a loving husband, an amazing father, a good son, a compassionate doctor and a dear friend.
“Born as a premature baby in a place with limited medical facilities, he was the most precious baby in the family and grew up as the pet child,” said Dr Satheesh, brother-in-law of Dr Marshall.
What happened that day
Pastor Ashish Thomas from The Dubai City Church, to which the Marshall family belongs, said Dr Sisy lost her husband on the day that marked the 25th death anniversary of her father.
He also explained what happened on the tragic day. He said Dr Sisy had noticed a change in the colour of Dr Marshall’s face while they were sitting together after breakfast and she wanted him to get a blood test done.
“What we have come to understand from various things that we have gathered, we have seen and understood, is that he has either had probably a blackout or a heart attack before the accident and that is why he lost control [of the car] and he passed away,” the pastor informed the gathering.
“He was a good driver. He had a kind of a philosophy that if I drive on the fast lane I only have to watch one side [of the traffic].”
He described Dr Marshall as a harmless person throughout his life and even in his death as the accident did not harm anyone else though the car toppled over a couple of times.
According to Dubai Police, the motorist who drove the four-wheel drive car lost control after driving past the Trade Centre Roundabout underpass towards Karama following which the car overturned and caught fire. Since he got trapped inside the burning car, Dr Marshall could not be rescued.
Dr. Sunny Kurian, chairman of Dr. Sunny’s Group in Sharjah, who shared his fond memories of medical college days with Dr. Marshall said: “He spent time not just examining his patients, but also explaining things to them.”
Speaking to Gulf News, he said Dr. Marshall had reportedly had a previous episode of passing out according to his family.
“He was a careful driver. It sounded strange as to why the car would go out of control and topple over. It had something to do with him losing the control. It could be that [a black out].”
Dr Sasikumar Kallivalappil, a specialist neurologist at PrimaCare, who was a colleague and a partner of Dr. Marshall for 25 years, said Dr. Marhsall kept himself updated by attending conferences.
“His patients have been coming and crying in front of his room.”
Book of tributes
Saying that the family is overwhelmed with gratitude, Dr. Sisy broke into tears as she thanked the local authorities, the motorists who tried to help Dr. Marshall, the family’s church, friends, colleagues and relatives who offered support to them.
“As we put the love of my life to rest today, I know this is only his body. But his virtues, handiwork and values continue to live on in the stories that people are sharing of how he touched their lives.”
She said the tributes posted on the tribute webpage of Dr. Marshall would be printed in a book.
A video showing the happy moments of his life was screened while a card featuring some precious photos and details of the memorial service and funeral was handed out to all the attendees.
Dubai Traffic Prosecution is investigating the accident and waiting for the accident report from Dubai Police, Gulf News has learnt.