Dr Sydney M. Friedman, 1916–2015

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 57, No. 3, April 2015, Pages 117-118 Obituaries

portrait of the late Dr. Friedman

Our dear friend and teacher, Dr Sydney Friedman, died on 16 February 2015, 1 day before his 99th birthday. We, along with countless others, very much benefited from his teaching, friendship, and wonderful joie de vivre.

Dr Friedman grew up in Montreal, completed medical school at McGill University and, after a period of service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, his PhD there as well.

Married in 1940, he and his loving wife of over 70 years, Dr Constance Livingstone Friedman, both began their careers teaching anatomy at McGill. Dr Constance Friedman (Connie) died in 2011. In 1949, while still in their early 30s, they were both recruited by UBC to take on the challenge of helping to grow and develop the newly created UBC Faculty of Medicine. They did so with their characteristic drive and energy. In 1949 Dr Friedman was appointed professor and head of the Department of Anatomy and the first class of 60 UBC medical students, graduating in 1954. He was one of the people primarily responsible for the medical school developing into one of the world’s best. Dr Friedman won many prestigious academic and research awards and, together with Connie, published over 200 academic papers, primarily on the role of sodium in hypertension. He was also an outstanding and dedicated teacher of generations of students in medicine, dentistry, and graduate studies. 

Dr Friedman was a formally educated and very accomplished artist, and his ability to draw with both hands simultaneously was a feature of his teaching technique. His three-volume set of books, Visual Anatomy, was valued by students of anatomy all over the world.

The Friedmans’ participation in the growth of UBC as an internationally renowned university extended beyond the medical school, and the Department of Anatomy was a breeding ground for leaders in the university. The Friedmans created the UBC Friedman Foundation, and the Friedman Scholar and Travel Awards in support of graduate students. They donated an extremely valuable collection of Bill Reid artwork to the UBC Anthropology Museum and their award-winning home to house visiting UBC faculty.

Dr Friedman will be greatly missed by his friends and supporters. His wit and intellect remained with him to the end. He appreciated the close friendship and loving care he received from Rizalyn Ramos after Connie had passed away. He also enjoyed a special bond of friendship—and received much support from—Dr Charles Slonecker and his wife Jan.

I (BD) must also acknowledge the dedicated and special care that Dr Brad Fritz gave to the Friedmans. Like an old-time family physician, Brad made countless house calls to their home and cared for them with great skill and compassion as they became less able to make office visits.

Dr Friedman was also predeceased by his siblings, Horace, Isabelle, and Wolfe. His sister-in-law, Ruth Friedman, and many nieces and nephews survive him. Dr Friedman requested that no memorial service take place. Please consider supporting his legacy through a gift to the Friedman Scholars Program at UBC.
—Brian Day, MB
—Brad Fritz, MD

Brian Day, MB, Brad Fritz, MD. Dr Sydney M. Friedman, 1916–2015. BCMJ, Vol. 57, No. 3, April, 2015, Page(s) 117-118 - Obituaries.

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