Born in Brussels, but spending some of his childhood in Paris, Jacques Dagnelie trained as a doctor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and qualified with ‘grande distinction’ in 1931. Early in his career he demonstrated his talents for organization in the leadership of scientific societies, and later found fulfilment when he became the secretary and driving force of the European Association of Internal Medicine (AIME) which he served faithfully from its foundation in 1970. It was in this capacity that he first became associated with the College in 1971. He was dedicated to the protection of the quality of care provided by specialist general physicians, and what he perceived as the dangers of over specialization.
In his early career he served as Chef de Service and teacher in internal medicine at the Hospital of St Giles in Brussels before devoting himself to practice as an internist. His publications reflected his wide interests in medicine but his real love, apart from his devoted wife Maria and his three children, was AIME. Although some of us on the council were dignified by various titles, such as treasurer, Jacques Dagnelie actually did everything - and with painstaking care. The meetings of the council of AIME were often held in his house in Brussels, usually on a quiet Sunday when there was time to do justice to his wife’s superb food and his own treasured wines.
When he first visited the College in 1971 he held all of the justified, and some of the unjustified, suspicions of a Francophile about the English but he soon recognized that the College not only shared his views on the importance of the specialist general physician but could, by its cohesive and efficient administration under the then president, Max Rosenheim, become the very citadel of European internal medicine. Dagnelie was deeply moved by his election to the Fellowship in 1972 but, alas, in the following years the College, for a variety of reasons, became more concerned with domestic problems and its earlier enthusiasm for a European initiative faded. His later years were troubled by prolonged illness.