Dr Morris VanAndel, 1943–2015

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 57 , No. 7 , September 2015 , Pages 307 Obituaries

portriat of the late Dr. Vanandel
We mourn the passing of a fine medical leader and a true servant.

Dr Morris VanAndel was born in Arnhem, Netherlands, on 12 October 1943, the fifth of seven children. The family immigrated to Canada in 1954, settling in New Westminster.

Dr VanAndel graduated from the UBC in 1968. After completing an internship at the Royal Columbian Hospital he ran a full-spectrum family medicine practice in Burnaby in association with Drs David Harris, Gordon McFadden, and others. Early in his career Dr VanAndel became involved in hospital medical staff affairs at Royal Columbian, where his skills and abundant common sense were recognized. Later, while still in clinical practice, he became involved with programs at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which led him to join the College staff as a deputy registrar in 1992. His participation in all aspects of the College’s work equipped him for his role as senior deputy registrar under Dr Tom Handley and eventually his appointment as registrar in 2000, a position he held until his retirement in October 2008.

While he was the registrar we fondly called him “Boss,” but he was never “the boss”; rather, he was our leader. Morris recognized that the deputies and support staff were competent, wise, committed people. He turned us loose to do our jobs, expecting us to keep him informed and to ask for assistance if we weren’t sure. His door was always open, as was he—always willing to share what he knew.

While dealing with physicians who came to the attention of the College posed challenges, Dr VanAndel never forgot that many of these physicians were colleagues with difficulties of their own, needing to be dealt with firmly and fairly, but also with compassion. Often at the interview stage, after listening to the doctor and his or her legal counsel, he would say, “Let me take my registrar’s hat off for a moment,” and then collegially lay the cards on the table, making the way clear to a fair resolution of the issue at hand.

Dr VanAndel epitomized what one expected of a professional—he was competent, compassionate, honest, and humble. What you saw was what you got; he was a person of true integrity. All who dealt with him, including his staff, the profession, the broader regulatory community, government, and the public, respected him for his discernment, integrity, and compassion.

Dr VanAndel was loved by all for his kindness, steadiness, generosity, and sense of humor. His deep faith in God was evident in his daily life. He could be counted on no matter what the need. He loved his family and his friends. These relationships were a priority for him.

In recognition of his years of dedicated service he was awarded the Dr David M. Bachop Gold Medal for Distinguished Medical Service, the Wallace Wilson Leadership Award, the Dr Cam Coady Medal of Excellence, and an honorary membership in the CMA.

Outside of his professional life Morris had many interests. He enjoyed being active in sports, especially hockey with his buddies. He was captain of his team at the Vernon Medical Association Spring Hockey Tournament for several years. He was a competitor but was also known by his teammates as the diplomatic enforcer, quietly ensuring that those opponents whose physical play exceeded the rules toned it down a notch. He enjoyed crosswords, playing cards, movies, and traveling, and he was an avid reader. Throughout his life he served on various committees in the community related to church, schools, and other agencies.

Morris was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in February 2012. During the extensive surgery and multiple cycles of chemotherapy that followed he was supported by a large cadre of family and friends. Throughout that time Morris and Arlene also found great support through their Christian faith.

Morris is survived by his wife of 51 years, Arlene; three children, Kathy, Carla, and Morris; eight grandchildren; and six siblings.

Morris, you have run the race and run it well. Now it is finished. “Well done thou good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:23).
—Doug Blackman, MD
Vancouver

Doug Blackman, MD,. Dr Morris VanAndel, 1943–2015. BCMJ, Vol. 57, No. 7, September, 2015, Page(s) 307 - Obituaries.



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