Nathan B. Epstein

3 marzo , 19248 octubre , 2020

Nathan Bernic Epstein (March 3, 1924 – October 8, 2020). He was born to the late Benny and Shayna (Bernick) Epstein in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. He is predeceased by his wife, Barbara (Elman), his parents, his brother Bucky, his sister-in-law Madeleine Epstein and brother-in-law Vevy Leith. He is survived by his daughters Anne Tobe (Joel Barad), Nancy (David Goldbloom), and Jane. He is also survived by his older sister Fae, his grandchildren Daniel (Jessica Duffin Wolfe), William (Zachary Russell), Gordon, and Lee, as well as his great-grandchildren Wolf and Kensington. He leaves his nieces, nephews, and their children as well as true friends near and far.

Raised on Cape Breton Island in its small but vibrant Jewish community, he left to attend Mount Allison University as an undergraduate but retained his sense of connection to Cape Breton, as well as his accent and colourful language, throughout his life. He completed his medical degree at Dalhousie University and then embarked on his psychiatric residency at McGill University. After two years of training, he moved to Boston for further studies at the Boston State Hospital, followed by training in psychoanalysis at Columbia University. He returned to Canada in 1955 as one of its first training analysts and began clinical and academic work at McGill. He joined the staff of the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital, becoming its Psychiatrist-in-Chief by 1960. At that time, he and his colleagues pioneered a major academic and clinical initiative into the understanding of family functioning and the development of family therapy. For the next 50 years, he remained actively engaged in this research, teaching, and clinical practice, and what came to be known as The McMaster Model of Family Functioning became recognized and used internationally.

In 1967, he became the founding Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the newly created McMaster University Faculty of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario. Nate always regarded the decade that followed as the most exhilarating phase of his academic career, under the visionary leadership of John Evans, when they fomented a revolution in medical education.

In 1978, he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Butler Hospital. A decade later, on completion of his term, he led the Department of Psychiatry of Parkwood Hospital in New Bedford, Massachusetts, continuing to work on the front-lines of inpatient and outpatient care until age 86.

He enjoyed an international role as a researcher, innovator, leader and clinician. He was an invited speaker in the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Israel, South America, and throughout North America. His scientific publications span more than 50 years and include many articles and book chapters as well as two co-authored books, Silent Majority (1969) and McMaster Model of Family Functioning: A Comprehensive Method for Evaluation and Treatment of Families (2005). He trained generations of students in psychiatry and in family therapy and was recognized with honorary degrees from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University.

Nate was a charismatic, blunt, intellectually rigorous and demanding man who was unafraid of conflict and drawn to learning – a voracious reader who nevertheless was absorbed by all sports. He played squash into his 80s and watched football, hockey and baseball until his death. Although he was gruff in manner, he both displayed and valued loyalty in friends and family, while never shying away from expressing his opinion or judgment. He never romanticized ageing and rued every loss of independence as an indignity.

In his last decade, he traveled to Tibet, Turkey and Russia. But his final visits to Cape Breton and Hamilton were made possible by his steadfast friend John Bihldorff.

The family gives immeasurable thanks to his gifted and dedicated caregiver Rosa and her team, the devoted staff of Laurelmead, and the many other people there who enriched his life. There will be no funeral service and arrangements for a virtual memorial will be announced later. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Benny and Shayna Epstein Scholarship Fund, which Nate established to support medical students from Cape Breton, at


No hay servicios públicos programados en este momento. Reciba una notificación cuando se actualicen los servicios.


Nathan B. Epstein



18 octubre , 2020

I was interviewed and hired by Dr. Epstein as the first social worker on his newly minted IN PATIENT PSYCHIATRY UNIT AT McMaster University Medical Centre. It was 1972. I was underqualified, naive and totally inexperienced. He hired me anyway. I was assigned as the social worker on his treatment team. I was terrified of this blunt, brilliant, demanding clinician, unparalleled academic mind and administrative leader extraordinaire. As far as I was concerned he could fly, had X-ray vision and knew everything. Now almost 50 years later I know that he taught me everything that I truly know. He inspired me as no one ever has. Those first five years of my career under his tutelage set the stage for my life in social work and psychiatry. As “Nate” and I worked together on his treatment team his influence, genius, direction, and supervision provided me with clinical identity, direction and inspiration. His kindness and generosity of self will never be forgotten. He was in short the greatest and most extraordinary man that I have ever known. O God thy sea is so vast and my boat is so small, sail on dear Nate, sail on, eternity awaits you.

Brian Chesnie

18 octubre , 2020

Over the past few years , when we talked, Nate would always say that he was living too long, and wished it would end sooner than his passing to me is greeted with saddened relief!
He was one of my life heroes, and I always cherished the times we spent together, originating at McMaster when I was a medical student, and he took me under his wing. The times we spent with Nate and Barbara really helped shape my attitudes and more, my life direction. I always considered them to be amongst my closest friends.
I have dear memories of Toby, Jane, and Nancy during the Hamilton years, and I believe I am a richer and better human being due to the influence and friendship that I had with Nate and his family.

Jeffrey Drury

14 octubre , 2020

In contemporary terms, Dr. Epstein was a veritable Anthony Fauci. Personally, having done clinical work in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Dr. Epstein's passion and dedication to unrivalved and routinely astonishing (read "jaw dropping") patient outcomes, leaves him a legacy of serving among the very best scientific-practioners in the country.

Jeffrey J. Drury, APRN

Laura Drury

14 octubre , 2020

Dr Epstein ushered in the “Glory Days” of Butler Hospital with his unparalleled clinical brilliance and steadfast leadership. As a member of his Intensive Unit Treatment Team , l was truly blessed to have Dr Epstein as a generous mentor & dear friend . Relatedly, one morning I was apparently distracted during the planning meeting. Dr Epstein called me into his office and learned of my Father’s heart problems. My father lived in Miami & I was fearful that he was getting subpar medical treatment. Later that afternoon to my surprise Dr Epstein called me with an appointment for my father with a top cardiovascular surgeon in Miami. The result... a successful operation and my Father lived for many years

Jacqueline Robitaille

11 octubre , 2020

As a Psychiatric Nurse I had the honor of working with Dr. Epstein for several years at both Parkwood Hospital and St Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, MA.
Dr. Epstein was a kind and caring Psychiatrist to his patients and a wonderful leader of our staff. He was not only my boss and my mentor, but he also became a family friend. He loved my children and followed their scholastic years and their chosen careers. He enjoyed their visits with him in his office at St. Luke's where he would give them wise advice which they appreciated. Thank you for everything, Dr. E , you will always be lovingly remembered by the Robitaille Family. RIP, you deserve it! Love. Jackie
May God bless the Epstein Family during their time of loss .

Duane & Jody Bishop

11 octubre , 2020

We are very sad to lose such a dear Friend. Nate was an outstanding psychiatrist who embodied many unique qualities. So many people were touched by his challenging intellect, strong support, and an uncanny ability to identify key issues, whether they were personal or organizational. There are so many of us who have prospered by having him in our lives. He balanced his intellect and personality with a good sense of humor.
We will miss him dearly!

Ann Kenney

10 octubre , 2020

Dr. Epstein was a learned, no nonsense psychiatrist who had seen it all. He willingly shared his knowledge with staff, patients and families, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him.

Michael Hartley

10 octubre , 2020

It was a privilege of my life and career to work with Nate. He was both a friend and a mentor. The joyful memories of working with him and accompanying him to the occasional hockey game - will endure always. Peace.

Linda Gillespie

10 octubre , 2020

I am very saddened to hear of Dr. Epstein’s passing. I had the privilege also of working with him at St. Luke’s. He was always eager to share his knowledge with you. His compassion and caring for patients and their families were beyond comparison. His professionalism was ever present with a sense of humor that trickled through. I am so sorry for your loss.

Donna Theodore

10 octubre , 2020

I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Dr. Nathan Epstein from 1987-2009. He was one of the best doctors I have ever known. He will be remembered fondly by many! Rest In Peace.


Aprenda más sobre Epstein el nombre