Solly Marks [ 1926 - 2012 ] Tribute

Emeritus Professor IN (Solly) Marks
1926 - 2012
Sadly passed away on Friday 19 October 2012. We will miss him.

This booklet was compiled to celebrate the special tribute to Solly Marks at the 2004 SAGES Banquet on 7 August in recognition of his outstanding and life-long contribution to gastroenterology.

We were fortunate to receive many contributions which are a small sample from the many people who shared his remarkable professional career. We hope that this tribute will be a special momento of this occasion and to be kept for posterity.


Click here to read through the tribute.


Should you wish to submit your condolences on this page please send an email to and the message will be posted below.

A message from Peter Cotton

Southern Suburbs Tatler - Community Newspaper - Thursday 25 October 2012
Click here to download or view the newspaper article.

Weekend Argus 28 October 2012
Click here to download or view the newspaper article.

UCT Monday Paper - 12 November 2012
Click here to download or view the newspaper article.

South African Medical Journal - Vol. 102, No.12 - 03 December 2012
Click here to download or view the journal article.

We and all associated with the Gastro Foundation were saddened to hear the news of Solly.
Teacher and mentor with an acute intellect and wit he was most supportive of all our endeavours.
It was a privilege to hear him give his last address at SAGES in 2012 and it is one that we will remember forever.
Our condolences to Inge
Chris Kassianides

The first Professor and Chair of Gastroenterology at UCT and Head of the Gastrointestinal Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital. We salute a man whose achievements and mentorship in the field of gastroenterology, both nationally and internationally, are a legacy we will treasure forever. Solly was well-loved by all in the GI Clinic and our hearts go out to Inge and Family.

Founder Member and Honorary Life President of the South African Gastroenterology Society (SAGES) and the father of gastroenterology in South Africa, will be sorely missed by the entire gastroenterology community. SAGES extends heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Inge and the family.

Of all the many physicians who worked at Groote Schuur Hospital in its formative years, Solly was surely one of the most outstanding persons. He built a generation of gastroenterologists who are spread throughout South Africa and the world, who learnt from him the true clinical and scientific approach to patients. He is missed by all of us – like we have lost a "father"
- Selwyn Odes

It has been an honour and privilege to have been associated with Prof Solly Marks for almost 30 years. He always was a source of inspiration and sound advice. His magnificent contribution to SAGES and life in general will be impossible to calculate. Solly thank you for all the sound advice and stately guidance you provided. You will be sorely missed
Kind regards
Harold Bloch

I am sure that all those who have known Solly Marks will agree that he was the father of modern gastroenterology in South Africa and also one of the leading gastroenterologists in the world.

I first met Solly in 1970 when I started working as a fellow in the GI Unit. On the first weekend that we were in Cape Town, he invited us to his and Inge's beautiful home in Constantia. Here we received the full tour of the protea garden with little Karen providing the name of each variety. This hospitality of Solly's became famous among all the junior doctors in the unit and of course all the visiting GI authorities who visited Cape Town. The hospitality continued even after I had left Cape Town for Israel. Every time I visited South Africa Solly would invite me down to Cape Town often putting me up at his home.

We all remember the 25th anniversary of the GI clinic in 1984 to which Solly invited all the ex-fellows from around the world to celebrate and again, many of these same people came out in 2004 to honor Solly at the SAGES congress. Solly not only saw to it that we were housed at the best hotel but also came to pick many of us up personally from the airport.

Solly was a wonderful mentor and many of us who went on to successful careers all over the world can thank him for this. We all remember the long hours discussing patients and research and also of being at the end of a scathing remark when we said something not to his liking: "Your lips are moving but your tongue is not saying a thing."

My last contact with Solly was at the World Congress of Gastroenterology in 2009 in London. (He had attended every one of the World Congresses from the first one in Washington in 1956) where he was honored by the World Gastroenterology Association as being one of the foremost physicians in the world of gastroenterology.

An era in South African Gastroenterology has come to an end with his passing away and he will be missed by all. "Yehi Zichro Baruch" - may his memory be blessed.
- Ben Novis

What is there to say about a friend, colleague, mentor, collaborator, co-author and every other superlative adjective one can think of when writing about Solly from some one who knew him as intimately as I did for 25 years. It was a 24/7/365 relatonship with talking, writing, calculating, computing night after night while eating biltong, smoking, drinking (yes, tea) till the statistics were cracked or we collapsed. Not only was he brilliant but his generosity new no bounds shleping me to international meetings, letting me eat the granadillas growing on the fence of his tennis court and sharing umpteen fables and tales fit for a book. I will miss him even at this distance or anywhere.
- Simmy Bank

Both Christiane and I are overwhelmed with sadness. A giant in gastroenterology, an esteemed colleague and friend passed away unexpectedly. It is only a few weeks ago that we were together in the game park after the 50th anniversary meeting of the South African Gastroenterology Society where Solly gave a masterful overview of the history of SAGES. We both became a Master of the world gastroenterology body (MWGO) in 2009. I got to know Solly in the nineteen seventies and our friendship just grew in strength over the ensuing years. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Inge, his inseparable comrade and loyal supporter, his family, and all friends of SAGES. What remains is a permanent memory of an extraordinary personality, highly intelligent, highly motivated, exceptionally loyal to his co-workers and his department, witty, sharp, inquisitive and humorous, but above all, a decent honest human being. A lasting memory!
- Guido NJ Tytgat

It saddens me to hear of the passing on of our Prof Solly Marks.It was an outstanding experience to have met him during the 50th SAGES congress. He was a great man and a gastroenterology icon. Do extend our condolences to his lovely wife and the entire GI community. May he rest in perfect peace.

Best regards.
- Mary Afihene, Ghana

We were deeply sad to learn of the passing of Solly Marks.
Solly was an extraordinary man with a history of dedication to medicine and a commitment to the gastroenterology profession in particular.
He was a legend in his time and an individual who pursued his interests in a unique way.
We were very fortunate to share with him the pleasure of the 50th Anniversary of SAGES and to hear again his personal story.
We will miss him and always remember him as a great scholar, doctor and exceptional person.
Warm wishes and heartfelt condolences to Inge, Karen and family.

- Issy and Arlene Segal

Both personally, and on behalf of SASES, I send sincere condolences to Inge for their family's loss of this fine man. Solly combined true grit, intellect and humour to create an internationally applauded society, department and personal career. Always ready with a story or an anecdote, his company was inevitably a pleasure and a privilege, and I vividly recall him quoting Bertrand Russell to me more than a decade ago: "Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

His address to us all in Durban proved to be his final one and was a wonderful effort in true Solly-style, which left many of us deeply moved. Typically, he complained afterwards that he had not got everything right… as if we noticed or cared.

Rest in peace, Professor Marks, you leave a gap that may never be filled. We will miss you more than you imagined.

- Bob Baigrie

Solly Marks was the heart and soul of SAGES, guiding the organization from its infancy to the mature entity that it is today. His wisdom, astute nature and sharp wit will be sorely missed. I consider it a great privilege to have known Solly, and to have worked with him over the years. Rest in peace, dear Friend.

- Herbie Schneider

Solly gave more to people and to life than he took. He made things happen in all aspects of life, bringing so much to South African and world Gastroenterology. On behalf of the European Crohn’s & Colitis Organisation, I salute a great man for whom I hold fond memories. It was characteristic of him that after we had an engaging discussion on science and clinical practice, during a visit to his house and wonderful garden in 2009, he gave me a faded photocopy of an inspirational testament written by Pavlov in 1936 – advocating consecutiveness and commitment in science, espousing the principles that Solly himself exemplified. He leaves horticultural memories as well, because as an avid gardener he valued the concept of hybrid vigour, so important in any institution.

- Simon Travis
President of ECCO

I am so sorry for the sudden death of our friend Prof. Solly Marks who was the star of the last congress in Durban.
Please convey condolences and sympathy to his wife and his family on the behalf of AMAGE and myself.

- Hussein Abdel-Hammid

What very sad news. I have known Prof for about 44 years and he was
always so jovial and caring towards my mom. They became real buddies -
he even went to visit her when she was at the Ladies Christian Home for
the last few weeks of her life. Had mom been alive she would have been
devastated. He also attended to my dad who died in Groote Schuur in

I'm sure this must also be a sad time for you who worked so closely
with this very clever and wonderful man for many years.

To Inga and family - my very deepest sympathies. May God bless and
be with you at this difficult time

- Teddy Davies

Message from Professor K D Bardhan

It is with sadness I learnt of Prof. Marks’s death; with his passing we have lost a giant of a man, a physician-scientist known internationally, held in great respect and with affection by so many, but whose spirit will be perpetuated by his numerous former trainees who now hold high position in many parts of the world, and by the superb department of gastroenterology he created at the Groote Schuur University Hospital in Cape Town...

Click here to view the rest of the message.