13 January 2011 saw the passing of one of northern BC’s finest general practitioners.
Hugh was born in Montreal. He studied medicine at the University of Toronto, obtaining his MD in 1963. After a rotating internship, Hugh entered a urology residency in Ottawa but ultimately decided that urology was not his calling.
After a period of time working in industry Hugh decided that clinical medicine was what he enjoyed, so in 1972 he and his wife Jeannette moved to Fort St. James, where Hugh practised for 6 years. His surgical training and clinical acumen were real assets in this small, relatively isolated community. On his departure he was given the keys to the city in recognition of his major contribution to the community.
Hugh and his growing family relocated to Prince George, where Hugh practised until his retirement from active clinical practice in 2002. Hugh was a general practitioner in every sense of the word.
Retirement for Hugh was really just a change in focus. He continued to provide surgical assistance, worked in the oncology clinic, and became actively involved with the Northern Medical Program as a problem-based learning tutor. His ability to complement the curriculum with his vast clinical experience was greatly appreciated by his students. For Hugh, practising medicine was an honor, and he did so with compassion and care, qualities he sought to pass on to his students.
While medicine was Hugh’s vocation and avocation, golf was his passion throughout his life. He began playing in his early teens and became so accomplished he earned a place on the 1958 National Willingdon Cup team and a golf scholarship to Duke University. He enjoyed the outdoors and all that the north offered, especially fly fishing on the Babine and Morice Rivers.
As a testament to Hugh’s character and contribution to the community, more than 400 family, friends, colleagues, and former patients attended his memorial service, fittingly held at the University of Northern BC.
Hugh was a true gentleman. He was a compassionate, competent physician, a respected colleague, a loyal friend, a loving husband to Jeannette, and a kind, considerate, loving father to Emily, Jessica, and Melissa. We have all been privileged to share in his life.
—Doug Blackman, MD
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