Remo 'Sid' Cantamessa 1926 - 2022

Remo 'Sid' Cantamessa died on Thursday 23 June 2022, aged 96.

Sid was born in Proserpine, Queensland in 1926 to a sugar cane farming family who emigrated from Italy in 1921; the early days of expanding agricultural development in the tropical north. At 11 years of age, Sid obtained a scholarship to Nudgee College in Brisbane. From that time, he subsequently saw little of his family apart from school holidays. He graduated from the University of Queensland (U of Q) in 1949, demonstrating his athleticism in sport as a rugby union player, representing the state of Queensland as a breakaway. He was awarded 3 university “Blues” in rugby, basketball, and water polo. Boxing was also an interest at that time. 

After spending his early resident years at The Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Sid proceeded to the United Kingdom and obtained his FRCS London in 1955; returning to the “Mater” in 1957 as Honorary Clinical Assistant Urology.  In 1957 he obtained the degree of Master of Surgery U of Q and later that year the FRACS. 

Sid joined the Australian Army Reserve while at U of Q with progression through the ranks to colonel at retirement. 1968 saw him actively serving in the Vietnam War with 3 months at Long Tan. 
Sid was appointed in 1960 as Consultant Urologist at the then Brisbane General (now Royal Brisbane & Women’s) Hospital, joining Alex Splatt and John Phillips.  Clinical duties were combined with student teaching for the Univ. of Qld and later advanced urological training for the RACS Board of Urology. About the same time, he was Consultant Urologist at the RGH Greenslopes and First Military Hospital, Yeronga.  He developed a successful private urological practice on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. Later in his career, he was the first urologist to be appointed as a Consultant Urologist at the Redcliffe Hospital which served the expanding population of the northern peninsula of Moreton Bay. He was predominantly involved there at the time of clinical retirement. 

Sid married Judy Young, a Brisbane physiotherapist in the UK, and on return, they provided a wonderful family home with their daughters, Lisa, Lou, Susan, and Cindy. Their house on the hill in Hamilton close by the Brisbane River was warmly welcoming to all.  Family sailing was of great interest in earlier days. He built Sabot dinghies under his home (a large “Queenslander” originally on wooden stumps), for each of his 4 daughters to race on Moreton Bay at the weekends.  Sadly, Judy died in 2019.

Sid was a keen golfer for many years as a member of the Royal Queensland Golf Club. Contract bridge was an interest that remained with him for life.  Extremely well read; he could quote Mark Twain up to his final months of life.

An agreeable colleague, competent surgeon, family man, and friend, Sid was most widely respected.  He was consistently understanding, thoughtful, and supportive, especially to those that followed him in urological life. 

We remember him with great affection. 

USANZ thanks Stephen Stening, Tony James, and R.A. “Frank” Gardiner for preparing this obituary.


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