Canadian Cardiovascular Society

In Memoriam

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Honouring CCS members who have passed away. When possible, we will link to obituaries, news articles, or other sources to honour to the deceased.

Please note all tributes will be presented in their original language of publication.

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Dr. F. Neil McKenzie

Surgeon and Professor Emeritus, Dr. F. Neil McKenzie died March 25, 2024, at St. Joseph’s Hospice at the age of 79, surrounded by his wife, Maureen, and loved ones, who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest.

Neil was born in Wetherby, England on June 13, 1944, and shortly thereafter the family relocated to Aberdeen, Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Aberdeen and did post-doctoral work in Sweden before emigrating from Scotland to Canada in 1974. Together with other leading physicians across multiple disciplines, Neil built a world-class team of physicians that did pioneering surgeries, including Neil performing the first heart transplant at UWO (1981) and Canada’s first heart-lung transplant (1983). His pioneering work led and elevated LHSC University Hospital’s heart transplant program to be one of the busiest and most productive heart transplant programs in Canada, where the program has still completed the most heart transplants in Canada to date.

He took great pride in his UWO Medical Professor role, in addition to leading and mentoring the team as Chief (1984) and Chairman (1987) of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at UWO from 1984 to 1997. Neil retired in 2018 after an extraordinary 44 years at University Hospital, earning him the Dean’s Lifetime Achievement award, the 2009 Wilfred Bigelow Canadian Cardiovascular Society Achievement award, among other accolades.

In the hospital setting, Neil’s dexterity with surgical instruments was only exceeded by his ability to care for his patients pre- and post-surgery. His bedside manner, that included a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor in his mild Scottish brogue, always made the patient feel at ease. Neil’s profound impact on the field of cardiac surgery and his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others will be remembered and cherished by colleagues, patients, and the medical community alike.

Neil initially wanted to pursue a career in aviation and continued his love of flying on a personal level, attaining his private pilot’s license, and ultimately achieving the highest levels of technical certifications as a private pilot, allowing him to effortlessly crisscross Canada and the US, when timing away from hospital or family allowed.

While Neil travelled the world extensively for both work and leisure, the simplest pleasures in life brought great joy to him. A voracious reader, he also loved an afternoon with friends and family, especially at his beach condo in Port Stanley, perhaps sometimes with a glass of wine in hand. He was an accomplished athlete on the rugby and cricket pitches as a young man, and through his adult years he was an equally accomplished squash player. In quieter moments, he relished playing piano and classical guitar, or getting lost in a diabolical level game of Suduko. Long walks with Maureen through their North London neighbourhood, along the beaches in Port Stanley, or playing frisbee on the beach in Port with the grandkids would give no end of satisfaction.

Neil received exceptional care from St. Joseph’s Hospice, Parkwood Hospital and University Hospital. We are tremendously grateful for all the efforts that these teams put forward to care for Neil through his end of life.

Neil is survived by his wife, Maureen; his two sons from his former wife, Edward, and Anders (wife Anjanette, and their children, Liam, Lars, and Annika); Neil’s younger sister Sheena (Richard) and older brother, Seaton (deceased).

Visitation on Saturday, April 13 from 2-5pm at Harris Funeral Home, 220 St. James St. at Richmond, with remembrance remarks at 3pm. Private cremation and interment, will follow at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Joseph’s Hospice London or the Neil McKenzie Chair in Cardiac Care at Western University.

Dr. Michel Carrier

C’est avec tristesse que nous vous annonçons le décès de Michel Carrier en date du 20 Février 2024, à l’âge de 68 ans.

Époux de Dyane Harvey depuis près de 40 ans, il était le père de Julie-Michèle (Mathieu Houle), Geneviève (Eric St-Germain), Alexandre (Maryline Laramée). Ses enfants représentaient sa plus grande fierté.

Il laisse derrière lui ses petits enfants adorés Bastien, Malix, Thomas, Victor et Alice. Également sa sœur Diane Carrier (Martin Rousseau), ses belles-sœurs et beaux frères, ses neveux et nièces. En plus de nombreux amis et collègues qui lui ont apporté un soutien indéfectible à travers la maladie.

Comme chirurgien cardiaque et chercheur émérite, il aura, au cours de ses 35 ans de carrière, sauvé plusieurs vies et contribué considérablement à faire avancer la recherche. À titre de professeur et directeur du département de chirurgie de l’Université de Montréal, il aura agi comme mentor pour plusieurs étudiants. On se rappellera son professionnalisme, sa détermination, son dévouement auprès de ses patients en chirurgie et en greffe cardiaque.

Des remerciements à l’extraordinaire équipe du CHUM, spécialement à Dr. Tehfe, ainsi qu’aux intervenants de l’unité des soins palliatifs, pour leur approche bienveillante. La famille tient également à remercier l’équipe du CLSC Rosemont, particulièrement l’infirmière pivot Isabelle Picard pour son soutien et ses soins empathiques. 

Pour ceux qui le désirent, des dons peuvent être adressés au fonds Alma Mater,en appui à une cause qui tenait particulièrement à cœur à Michel, soit celle des étudiants de chirurgie à l’Université de Montréal.

Dr. Tofy Mussivand

Tofy passed away peacefully on January 7, 2024 following a long battle with several serious illnesses.
He was born on December 2, 1942 in Hamadan, Iran where he lived until his immigration to Canada in 1964 to attend the University of Alberta for a masters degree in engineering. Because of his great love of education he subsequently obtained several more university degrees including a PhD in biomedical engineering.

For more than 30 years he was Chair and Director of the Cardiovascular Devices Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He was also Professor of Surgery and of Engineering at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University; and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

He was given numerous national and international awards for his achievements and is well known as a great Canadian innovator.

He was a very humble man and his most valued roles were those of husband, father, grandfather, friend and shepherd.

Left to mourn are his wife Dixy Lee, children David Troy and Lailee June, and cherished grandson Spencer.
He was predeceased by his parents Noah and Shamsi and by his brother Hussein. He is survived by brother Karim, sisters Safieh and Zahra and by several nieces and nephews.

Dr. Margot Ruth Roach

With sad hearts we announce the death of Dr. Margot Ruth Roach, aged 88 in Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro N.S. Thursday, August 24, 2023.

Margot was born in Moncton, N.B. on December 24, 1934. She was the eldest daughter of Dr. Robert D. Roach of Tatamagouche, N.S. and Katherine L. McMillan of Jacquet River, N.B.

Margot’s life was dedicated to learning and teaching. She was a lifelong learner who became a trailblazer in her field of Biophysics. After retiring from a full career as a university professor, researcher, and physician, she continued her learning in theology to become a Licensed Lay Worship Leader. She was influenced by many mentors and was equally passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience with her many students and young nieces and nephews.

Among her early influences, her grandfather, WR McMillan and Margot spent many hours debating on diverse topics, and she credited him with her ability to think on her feet and excel in oral exams.
Margot was also greatly influenced by her high school geometry teacher’s motto, “We can if we try hard enough.” Dr. McNaughton encouraged Margot to attend the University of New Brunswick where she earned a B.Sc. in Honours Math and Physics and became intrigued with Biophysics. She joined the summer intern program at UWO Biophysics Dept. and found her home.

A third mentor was Dr. Alan Burton of the Biophysics Department at the University of Western Ontario. He encouraged Margot to continue her studies in Biophysics and then told her that, for her research to be recognized by the medical profession, she would need to have a medical degree.

Margot followed his advice and completed her M.D. at McGill University in Montreal. She later trained in Internal Medicine and studied for her PhD with Burton.

She thrived on combining the associate professorship of Biophysics at UWO, Internal Medicine Consultant at Victoria Hospital in London and later at University Hospital, and continuing research for the Medical Research Council of Canada. She won awards in Biomedical engineering, for research on blood flow and artery mechanics and was the first chair of Biophysics following the retirement of Dr. Burton. Margot designed a Biophysics course for medical students at UWO, and her creative assignments were devilish combinations of clinical medicine and biophysical concepts. She was most proud of her teaching award by the graduating medical class “Class of 62 Award” as the students had voted her the professor who taught them the most during their university years.

Margot’s work in Biophysics took her around the world, including sabbaticals in Australia and Oxford where she continued her research, presenting at international meetings and in support of the development of Biophysics Programs in other countries including China. In recognition of her continuing work in Biophysics she was awarded a D.Sc. by UNB Saint John. There are two scholarships set up in her name at the UNB and one at Dalhousie Medical Faculty. The flag at UWO will be lowered in her honour this week.

After devoting a lifetime to the advancement of Biophysics, she married Franklin St. Alban House of Oxford, England a few days before her 60th birthday. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of returning to Tatamagouche she and Frank happily retired to Sand Point and were welcomed by the community. While in Tatamagouche, Margot remained active, volunteering with the Hospital Board, at Sharon United Church and filling in as a Licensed Lay Worship Leader at churches in the area.

Margot was predeceased by her mother and father and two infant brothers, Evan Dickson and John Robert. Left to mourn are Margot’s treasured friends Ann Wildish of N.B and Pat Hankinson of England, stepdaughter Jane Lusty of England, and Margot’s sister, Lorna Roach Tissington of Nanaimo, B.C. Also, nieces Janice Colleen Tissington Walker (Michael) and Margot Lynn Tissington, and nephew, Garth Stephen Tissington (and his wife Holly Kinkaid). Great nieces Darby Meagan Walker and Nora Frances Loyst and nephew Benjamin Stewart Loyst. Many students, friends and relatives will miss a caring and inspiring role model and friend.

Margot’s family gives heartfelt thanks to the staff of Parkland Truro for their care and especially to Valerie Kerr.

Margot’s remains are resting in Coulter’s Funeral Home, Tatamagouche, N.S. There will be no visitation by request. A funeral service will be held in Sharon United Church, Tatamagouche, N.S. on Wednesday, August 30th at 2pm with Rev. Connie McNamara officiating, followed by interment in the Tatamagouche Cemetery. Reception to follow. A recording of the service will be made available on this website later in the day.

Donations may be made to Sharon United Church or to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Dr. Harry Abramson

ABRAMSON, Harry MD FRCPC – On Tuesday, January 10, 2023 surrounded by family. Devoted son of
the late Ben and Rae Abramowitz. Beloved husband and best friend of the late Dolores Abramson for 56
years. Cherished father and father-in-law of Beth Abramson and Andrew Hamlin, and Neil and Cindy
Abramson. Adored and adoring grandfather of Jordan Abramson, Carey Abramson, and Daniel Hamlin.
A man of great integrity who led by example. Kind and compassionate, he was a person of great intellect
and accomplishment yet extremely humble. He devoted his whole life to his family and to the practice of
cardiology. He will be greatly missed. The service will be held at Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Avenue (east
of Bathurst) on Friday, January 13th at 10:30 a.m. Interment in the Temple Sinai section of Pardes
Shalom Cemetery. Shiva at 561 Avenue Road, Toronto. Please see for further details.
Memorial donations may be made to The Dolores and Harry Abramson Memorial Fund c/o Temple Sinai

Dr. John Tyberg

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. John Tyberg on April 10, 2022 at the age of 83 following a brief illness.

Dr. Tyberg was born in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and received his BA at Bethel College, St Paul, Minnesota, his MD and PhD in a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Minnesota. He also trained at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Harvard University; the University of California, San Francisco; and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles.

He joined the University of Calgary in 1981 as a Senior Clinical Investigator of the Alberta Heart Foundation. In 1983, he became a Heritage Medical Scientist of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. He was twice a Visiting Scientist, first at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, and later at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. He became Emeritus Professor of Cardiac Sciences and Physiology and Pharmacology, at the University of Calgary in 2011, but continued his usual research activity until it was disrupted by the pandemic. He was widely recognized internationally for his many contributions to understanding complex cardiovascular physiology.

He was committed to his many graduate and post-graduate students and often followed them with pride through their careers after they moved on. His generosity was such that he welcomed many students, trainees, and colleagues from various local and external faculties into his laboratory to share ideas and to perform their studies in his lab.

Dr. Joel Niznick

Peacefully on Friday, April 8, 2022, Joel Niznick passed away. His passing is an incredible loss to his family and friends and to the Ottawa community.

Niznick completed his Medical school at the University of Manitoba, his internal medicine training in Toronto and his cardiology subspecialty training in Ottawa. He led the development of the Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre (OCC), one of Ontario’s most advanced Cardiology care providers. Joel was a strong advocate and champion for excellence and continuity in patient care. He was a forward thinker and always was looking to ensure excellence in the delivery of care. He loved his patients and he thought of them like family that needed to be protected. He became a vital link in building community-academic hospital bridges.

The world has lost an extraordinary and admirable man who will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

Dr. Malcom Arnold

We regret to inform you of the death of Dr. Malcom Arnold on February 18, 2022.

He will be remembered as a man committed to three passions: his faith, his family, and his work. Known for his character and integrity in all circumstances, his example of kindness, gentleness, steadfastness, and wisdom is celebrated by so many that knew him. He was a deeply devoted husband, committed father and cherished grandfather. The family aches in his absence and he will be missed yet are forever grateful for the legacy that he last left. They take great comfort knowing that his faith in the Lord is now being realized. His life was in service to many. As a physician for 38 years, he was a well-respected and significantly accomplished cardiologist, much of that with London Health Sciences Centre. He was also an admired church elder, actively involved with North Park Community Church for over 30 years.

Read Dr. Arnold’s obituary.

Dr. George Wyse

Dr. George Wyse, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), passed away peacefully alongside his wife of 58 years, Bonnie, in their home in Canmore on Jan. 6, 2022. 
Wyse, a world-renowned cardiac arrhythmia clinician-scientist and longtime member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute (LCI), retired from clinical practice in December 2016. His contributions to the CSM and the institute are immeasurable. 

Wyse’s research career was also notable. During his 2017 UCalgary Lecture of a Lifetime presentation, he detailed two cardiac-arrhythmia research projects in which he held major leadership roles: the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST) and the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM). Both impacted the treatment of heart patients globally.

These studies, along with Wyse’s other work, resulted in more than 300 publications and more than 18,000 citations. He was the founding member of the cardiac electrophysiology group at UCalgary and former chief of cardiology.

Wyse received numerous awards during his career including the 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Heart Rhythm Society, an Annual Achievement Award from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society in 2008, the Top 40 Alumni award (2007) and Distinguished Alumni award (2005) from the UCalgary.

He was also president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and a founding and long-serving member of the LCI board. 

Read Dr. Wyse’s obituary.

Dr. David A. Murphy

We regretfully share the news that Dr. David A. Murphy, after being unwell for some time, passed away at home with family on Febraury 24, 2021.

Dr. Murphy was instrumental, along with Dr. Sullivan, in developing the cardiac transplant program in Halifax; likewise, he forged very effective basic science research collaboration as a foundation for the research achievements today. David took pride in teaching and was responsible for implementing a Royal College approved cardiac surgery residency program in 1978; he continued to mentor trainees throughout his career.

Read Dr. Murphy’s obituary.

Dr Martial G. Bourassa

À l’Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, le 28 juillet 2020, à l’âge de 89 ans, entouré de l’amour des siens, est décédé Dr Martial G. Bourassa.

Depuis 1965, le Dr Bourassa était cardiologue à l’Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, et professeur titulaire à la Faculté de médecine de l’Université de Montréal depuis 1976. Il faisait partie de plusieurs sociétés scientifiques et y a occupé plusieurs présidences. Il est considéré comme l’un des pionniers de la cardiologie au Québec. Son nom est attaché à l’invention d’un cathéter, le cathéter Bourassa, utilisé en cardiologie tant au Canada et en Amérique du Nord qu’en Europe.

Lisez la notice nécrologique du Dr Bourassa.

Dr. Wilbert Keon
CCS President, 1988-1990

On April 7th, Dr. Wilbert Keon passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the age of 83. Dr. Keon founded the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 1976 and served as its Chief Executive until 2004. In 1986, he became the first Canadian surgeon to implant an artificial heart – a Jarvik-7 – in a human.

Dr. Keon was President of the CCS from 1988-1990 and a lifelong member of the Society. His pioneering efforts, personal accomplishments, and contributions to the cardiovascular community will be remembered by many.

We will be memorializing Dr. Keon in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology in the coming months.

Read Dr. Keon’s obituary

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