Beloved GP of 40 years remembered for going above and beyond
AN IPSWICH doctor never lost his passion for caring for others in his 40 years as a GP and only gave up his work after a devastating diagnosis.
Dr Jim Tankey, who started private practice in Ipswich in 1977, passed away peacefully at home with his wife Christine by his side on August 12 at the age of 69.
Jim met Christine at a small gathering of medical students in 1972 and they stayed by each other's side from that point on.
They married in December 1973 when Jim finished his residency at Ipswich Hospital and Christine qualified as a registered nurse.
Together, they settled in Ipswich and Jim began his time as a medical officer in the Royal Australian Air Force
It was there he made many friends, learnt how to fly helicopters, had flights in an F-111 and a Hercules and spent many long lunch breaks playing table tennis.
Jim quickly got into the rhythm of long hours six days a week after starting private practice.
Apart from the paperwork, he loved every aspect of working as a GP, particularly delivering babies and seeing them grow up to have their own children.
His soft, kind and compassionate nature pushed him to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure his patients received the best possible care.
Outside of work, Jim had a passion for sport, particularly cricket, squash, golf and football, and he loved hosting social events for family and friends at his farm - named Billabong - near Tara.
His family said he only knew two speeds - full bore or fast asleep.
He slept about six or seven hours a night; the rest of his time was filled without a moment to spare.
Jim relaxed by digging holes and smoothing fence lines and roads at Billabong, and he loved getting his hands dirty.
Billabong became a place where hundreds of funny and heartwarming memories were formed with family and friends.
Weekends with his brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and their children included cattle roundups, horse riding, fishing, yabby-catching, shooting, swimming in the dam, bonfires, barbecues card games, children's concerts, line dancing and lots of laughs.
Jim became an enthusiastic gardener when the family moved to Wulkuraka. He also took to landscaping and building and specialised in mowing the lawn "whether it needed it or not".
In 2014, Jim was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and he stopped work immediately to do everything in his power to stop its progress.
He didn't give up his fight until the last minute of his life. His brother Chris said Jim had lived 120 years in his 69 years and 11 months of life.
Jim spent most of his life living in Ipswich after his family moved to North Ipswich from Maryborough and he held aspirations of becoming a doctor from a young age.
The warmth and care he extended to people returned to him in spades; he was well taken care of by staff at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital, and he was grateful for the care received from local doctors Allan Byrnes and Wally Bodetti.
Jim leaves behind wife Christine, children Daniel, Jeremy, Emily and Kate, his 11 grandchildren, his wider family and cherished friends.
Family and friends are invited to honour Jim at St Mary's Catholic Church, Ipswich, tomorrow at 10.30am.