Gerald Arthur Klassen
12 January , 1933 – 6 August , 2018
Dr. Gerald Arthur “Gerry” Klassen, MD, FRCPC, FACC, FACP—85, of Halifax, died Monday, August 6, 2018 in the QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax. Born in Kerrobert, SK, on January 12, 1933 he was the son of the late William and Agnes (Hamm) Klassen. He is survived by his wife and partner of 57 years Andree (Dauphinee); his son Timothy William, Edmonton; and his daughter Sonja Elizabeth LePage, and her husband Stephen LePage and his son Adam LePage and family; sister-in-law Judy Damberger, North Vancouver; several nieces and a nephew; many longtime colleagues and friends. He was predeceased by his brothers Henry (Hank) and William (Bill) Klassen. He graduated from the University of British Columbia Medical School in 1957. Post graduate training took him to Montreal (McGill), London, UK (National Heart Hospital), Vancouver (VGH), back to Montreal as a Resident and Fellow in Cardio-Respiratory Medicine where he was involved in the early implantation of pacemakers in Canada; and finally 2 years in Baltimore, Maryland (Johns Hopkins) where he was a Fellow in Physiological Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Kenneth Zierler. He returned to McGill and the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1965, as a clinician/researcher/teacher and was Director of the Cardiovascular Division RVH from 1974-77. In 1977, somewhat motivated by conversations with his cousin-in-law the late Allan Sullivan, he came to Dalhousie as Head of Physiology and Biophysics. Then in 1981 he switched gears again and was Vice President Academic and Research for 2 years and a final year as Vice President Research. In July 1984 he returned to being a fulltime cardiologist/researcher /teacher in the Dalhousie Department of Medicine. During all those years he continued to peruse his research interests in the coronary circulation and collaborated with colleagues in many countries, including a sabbatical year in Pisa. He served on many medical boards and committees and was particularly involved with issues of Bioethics in Human Research. His years at Johns Hopkins were formative and he was so honoured to be appointed a Member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2002. He had wanted to be a doctor since he was 4 years old and he was that and a teacher to the end. He and Andree retired to the Annapolis Valley in 1998 where nut trees and grape vines received the same attention to their health as had his patients. His interests were wide ranging: his first paper was published in 1962 about a cardiology issue and the last paper to have his name involved was in 2007 about resveratrol in Nova Scotia wines. He loved his family dearly and was a great encourager and believer in their talents even when at times they might have had doubts themselves. Any vacations always meant the whole family together even to taking a five and a six year old on a 10-week mini sabbatical in Italy. In accordance with Gerry’s wishes there will be no services. Cremation has taken place. If so desired, donations to the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, or your own favourite health or educational organization would be much appreciated. The family would like to thank the paramedics; emergency department staff, the nurses and staff looking after him on 4.2, and a particular thank you to Dr. Sneddon and Dr. Hawes for what Gerry called their patience and negotiating skills; and all the other physicians and people who have looked after him over the years. Andree also would like to thank Alice for her warm welcome when Gerry appeared in the Dept of Physiology and Biophysics when we moved back to Halifax and Dr Alexander Quinn for frequently talking about his own research with Gerry.
Gerald Arthur Klassen
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26 August 2018
We met during our residency at RVH in the early ‘60s where Gerry was becoming a cardiologist and I a Respirologist. We immediately became close friends and colleagues. Gerry had a remarkably inquisitive mind and his love of research to solve clinical and physiological problems stimulated me as did our wonderful mentors, Professors Maurice McGregor and his wife, Margot Becklake . I had the honor of being his best man when he married Andre. My wife Carol and Andre were also close and we enjoyed getting together whenever we could in Halifax or at their Annapolis Valley Farm where “farmer” Gerry happily and scientifically raised nuts.
Best friends over the ensuing, too rapidly passing years, we of late, enjoyed our annual “meetings” in Sanibel Island-always delightful but too brief.
He will be much missed!
Sadly, Michael and Carol Newhouse
Carl and Caroline Abbott
17 August 2018
We read Gerry's obituary in the Halifax Herald earlier in the week, but we have been away so we could not reply. We are saddened by his death. It was only a month or so that we met somewhere - maybe grocery shopping, We offer deepest sympathies to you and your family. Gerry was my friend before he decided to come to Halifax. I always thought he was a very intelligent doctor, researcher and had much to add to the Physiology Dept at Dalhousie, and later to the Dept. of Medicine as a Cardiologist. I note in the Funeral Home website, so many Klassens are listed. Are they all relatives? I was interested in the Obituary's comment about his research paper on resveratrol in NS wines. Where was that paper published. I would like to read it. Finally, I know that life will be different for you now that Gerry has gone.
Jeff & Jenny Rees
17 August 2018
Dear Andrew and family,
Jenny and I are so sorry to hear of Gerry’s passing and we very much hope that he did not suffer too much in his final days.
You will know that we were neighbours for over 10 years in the West end of Halifax. During those years we came to know Gerry and the family well and appreciated the warmth and generosity of your friendship.
I will always remember Gerry as an academic physician with an acutely enquiring mind and active imagination: always prepared to share his extensive knowledge and ideas. I benefitted from this: his experience and wise counsel concerning medical administration, education, and the clinical care of cardiology patients helped me on several occasions.
Always approachable, he helped without any fuss and I will also remember him as a colleague who positively influenced my professional life and as a friend who always gave generously of his time and expertise.
With sincere sympathy and heartfelt condolences,
Jeff and Jenny Rees
16 August 2018
We are sad to hear that Uncle Gerry passed away. I remember visiting you in Halifax and Gerry dressing Paul in some Japanese outfit. I remember driving top speed to Antigonish! I remember having lobster dinner at your house with my parents as a young adult. I remember getting locked in the bathroom in your house in Montreal at Christmas time as a child. Thank you that you both were always so welcoming to us. Gerry was always willing to engage in conversation and had many interesting stories to share. We will miss him. Please feel free to call me or come visit us in Kingston.
Kama and Paul Yantha
16 August 2018
Since the early 70’s, Gerry has been my true friend, colleague, mentor, and one of the nicest people I knew on the planet. Talking to him was always a treat for me, and often I picked up the phone and called him for no reason other than for some of that treat.
He was a cardiologist and I was a scientist, yet his love of science was truly infectious. An acknowledgment for his “hidden” contribution to my book on Coronary Blood Flow in 2005 reads: “I am indebted by equal measure to my long-time friend and colleague Dr. Gerry Klassen, formerly professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Dalhousie University. His passion for the subject, combined with his love of science and engineering, made him an invaluable resource for me for more than two decades. Always ready to explain and ready to help, he made a lasting contribution to my education in the field of coronary blood flow. His enthusiasm for the subject was always a source of inspiration to me.”
To me, Gerry was an unsung hero. He neither sought nor received the acknowledgment he deserved. Yet he deserved a great deal of acknowledgment, for his contribution to Medicine, yes, but also, and possibly more so, for his contribution to Science in Medicine.
I shall dearly miss him.
15 August 2018
Dear Andree & Family,
We were truly saddened to learn of Gerry's death. Gerry was a respected biomedical researcher, physician and an all-round good guy with whom I (Peter) had many interesting discussions over the years, especially at Gyro events, during your residency in the Valley, and via email.
He will be affectionately remembered.
We extend our sincere condolences and best wishes.
Peter & Susan Mullen
15 August 2018
I am so sorry to hear the passing of Dr. Gerald Klassen with whom I had worked and collaborated for many years during his time at the VG hospital and Dalhousie University in Halifax. He introduced me to the concept of adenosine as a modulator of energy metabolism which is still our main ongoing research program in the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie. His dedication to research and teaching inspired many young researchers and junior faculty many of whom have taken his lead to develop their own research enterprise. For that I feel deeply about loosing a mentor whom I respect upmost.
I wish to offer my sincere and heart felt condolence to his family and in particular Andree whom I also had the pleasure to work with over the years as part of our collaboration. I wish her well in this must be very difficult time for his family.
May God bless her and her family !
14 August 2018
Please accept the sympathies and condolences of the women of the Dalhousie King's Reading Club on your recent loss. It is very evident from the notice in the paper and the memories that have been shared that Gerald's loss will be keenly felt by family, friends, and colleagues. The thoughts and prayers of your friends in the Dalhousie King's Reading Club are with you and your family at this sad time. On behalf of us all,
for the DKRC Coordinating Committee
13 August 2018
I was so sorry to read about Gerry's passing in Saturday's paper. Please accept my sincerest sympathy for you and your family. Take good care of yourself.
13 August 2018
Dear Andree and family;
I was sorry to read of Gerry's passing. We are not attending Canard Church at this time so we had not heard of him being unwell.Thing are progression here as expected. Take care. Sincere Sympathy . Marg Kalkman
12 August 2018
I am so sorry for you Loss, My heart goes out to Sonya as I know this is a very hard time for her and the family, Please know that you are in my heart and my prayers for all of you in this very Hard time, Ruby Lacroix
11 August 2018
So sorry to hear of Gerry’s passing.I wish I was there to give you a hug Andre.
I enjoyed talking to Gerry.He was so knowledgeable about so many things.
Anyway,maybe we will meet someday.I sure miss Canard United.I have moved on with Orchard Valley in New Minas.
11 August 2018
hello Andree so sorry to read of gerrys passing in todayspaper i remember many chats when he was in the office next to mine at the Dickson Center or chats st Gyros or at the farm in Upper Cunard He was a good man old school very intelligent Marg and I wish youcand your family all the best as you move forward in lifeand offer our sincere condolensesat this time take care of yourself andthinkbof all the wonderful memories you must have Rest in Peace Gerry . sincerely Marg and Bob Fraser Coldbrook ns.
11 August 2018
We were sad to read of your loss of Gerry and just wanted you to know that we were thinking of you and your family. Gerry was my senior resident at the RVH, and a very good one! He was a life long learner and could be counted on to keep us on our toes with the latest medical feats.
Thinking of you,
Sonia and David (Murphy)
11 August 2018
To Andree and the Klassen family:
I was saddened to read of Gerry's passing in this morning's paper. Several years ago, when I began my consulting work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation here in Nova Scotia, I connected with Jerry, who had served on the Board of the Foundation. He was a wonderful source of inspiration for my work and I appreciated his special support and interest in the important work the Foundation was undertaking.
My sincere sympathies go out to Andree and the family. Jerry will be fondly remembered.
Mary Balkam, Halifax