OBITUARY

Dr. Richard Goldbloom

December 16, 1924November 19, 2021

Richard B. Goldbloom, OC, MD, FRCPC

He was born to the late Alton and Annie (Ballon) Goldbloom, in Montreal, Quebec. He is predeceased by his beloved wife Ruth (Schwartz) and his brother Victor, and survived by his children Alan (Lynn), Barbara (Tony Hughes), and David (Nancy Epstein), as well as his grandchildren Michael (Kelly Ludgate), Kate (Michael Bozek), Ellen (Joshua Kardish), Amy (David Frenkel), Stephen (Jenny Maryasis), Daniel (Jessica Duffin Wolfe) and Will (Zachary Russell). He also leaves great-grandsons Sam, Ben, Parker, Jack, Cole, Wolf, and Lucas, great-granddaughters Rachel, Lia, Kensington, and Maya as well as many nieces and nephews. He is survived by his sisters-in-law Diane, Diana and Inez Schwartz and Sheila Goldbloom. He is predeceased by members of the Cape Breton family into which he married and whom he loved, including his mother-in-law Rose Schwartz, sister-in-law Edna Schwartz, and brothers-in-law Joseph, Irving, Harold and Bram Schwartz.

Raised in Montreal, he attended Selwyn House School and Lower Canada College before completing an undergraduate degree and medical education at McGill University. As a medical student, he married the love of his life, Ruth, and they began a journey of 66 years of unmitigated happiness together. He trained as a pediatrician at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and at Boston Children’s Hospital. On his return to Montreal, he was for a time in a private pediatric practice with his father and brother Victor before committing to a full-time academic career at McGill University and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. In 1967, he was recruited to be Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and inaugural Physician-in-Chief and Director of Research at the newly constructed Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children. He held these positions for the next 18 years. He served as Chancellor of Dalhousie University from 2001-2007.

He published over 140 scientific research papers in such diverse areas as hematology, nutrition, cystic fibrosis, medical education, and the value of screening for disease; his textbook Pediatric Clinical Skills has become widely used. He also co-edited the book Preventing Disease: Beyond the Rhetoric, and for many years served as editor of the popular newsletter Pediatric Notes. In 2013, he published his autobiography, A Lucky Life.

He held visiting professorships and distinguished lectureships throughout the world, including the University of Oxford, Shanghai Medical University, Tel Aviv University and other universities throughout Canada and the United States. In 1986, he was named Sir Arthur Sims Commonwealth Traveling Professor, and visited universities and hospitals in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

He was a Past President of the Canadian Pediatric Society. He served on the Executive of the Medical Research Council of Canada and from 1984-94 chaired the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. He especially enjoyed chairing the Maritime Rhodes Scholars Selection Committee for 15 years, as he always relished the presence of young and talented people.

He and Ruth quickly integrated themselves into the academic, political, cultural and social life of Halifax. He became President of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, reflecting his lifelong passion for music and his considerable talent as a pianist; music and musicians were always close to his heart. One of his favourite places to sit was at the keyboard of his Steinway, revisiting Chopin and Brahms and learning new repertoire. He was the first Board Chair of the Waterfront Development Corporation of Halifax and founding Chair of the Discovery Centre, an interactive children’s museum of science and technology in Halifax. He became an avid sailor and golfer, and his unrelenting humour could be heard across fairways and on the high seas.

He received many honours over his career, including Officer of the Order of Canada, The Queen’s Silver and Diamond Jubilee Medals, The Order of Nova Scotia, and honorary degrees from McGill, Dalhousie, and Acadia University as well as University College of Cape Breton. He received the Ross Award from the Canadian Pediatric Society and the F.N.G. Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association, its highest honour. He was particularly moved when the hospital he led for much of his career named its newest building the Richard B. Goldbloom Pavilion for Research and Clinical Care. In 2016, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

He placed high priority on not taking himself too seriously and on drawing energy, enthusiasm and insight from the young people he cared for and the many generations of students he taught. He was happiest surrounded by the four generations of his family – each one a new audience for his oldest jokes. His love of laughter was infectious and his core temperament of equanimity endured even as his deteriorating memory robbed him of new opportunities. Ruth was his energy source and he was forever weakened by her death. She said the only disease he would ever die of was optimism. His optimism was not fatal but rather a sustaining life force for nine decades.

Special thanks are given for the wonderful care of Rebecca Mostoles, dedicated caregiver to her “Doc”, and to her colleagues, as well as to Dr. Jeff Dempster who provided wonderful palliative care. The staff of Parkland at the Gardens made his final decade one of happy conversations, thoughtful support, dignity and respect. Funeral services on Monday November 22 at 1 pm Atlantic will be private at Shaar Shalom Synagogue, but will be available via livestream at https://funeraweb.tv/en/diffusions/41066. In view of the pandemic, no shiva will be held.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Richard Goldbloom Medical Bursary at www.dal.ca/giving , the IWK Foundation at www.iwkfoundation.org/donate or to the charity of your choice.

Services

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Memories

Dr. Richard Goldbloom

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Alice Chan-Yip

December 3, 2021

I remember Dr. Richard Goldbloom as a superb clinician-teacher during my pediatric training as both a McGill University medical student and a junior resident at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 1963-64. After my subsequent post-graduate training at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, I returned to practice Pediatrics in Montreal in 1968 and continued to be inspired by the Goldbloom Family influences in the field. At that time, I learned that Dr. Richard Goldbloom had led a team of young pediatricians to develop the Department of Pediatrics at the IWK Hospital and Dalhousie University. Dr. Goldbloom’s distinguished success in academia always impressed me. I enjoyed the accounts of the Goldbloom family tradition in academic medicine while attending the Annual Alton Goldbloom Grand Rounds Lectureship at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, which reminded me of Dr. Richard Goldbloom’s own influence in the field of Pediatrics. While attending the Canadian Paediatric Society Annual meetings, I learned of his many contributions at the national level. After my own retirement and relocation to Halifax, I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Goldbloom at his residence and during our occasional encounters at the Public Gardens. Our last encounter was in November 2019 at a Symphony Nova Scotia concert, with renowned Canadian pianist Angela Cheng performing a piano concerto by Clara Schumann. I was delighted to have a final photo op with him, Ms. Cheng, my daughter Alexandra Yip, and granddaughter Sophie Ashton.
With my sincere sympathies and kindest regards to the family,
Alice Chan-Yip

John Harris

November 30, 2021

I haven't seen any of the Goldblooms in over 50 years but they are fondly remembered, especially Alan and Barbara. On one visit to their home in Montreal, I recall hearing some very professional-sounding piano music emanating from somewhere. A recording? No, it was Richard and the man could really play. He will be a tough act to follow.

I saw his death notice in the Globe & Mail, and after a bit of Internet sleuthing came upon a recording of the memorial in Halifax. I can't imagine a better tribute. I showed it to my wife, and also to a long-ago classmate in Neuchatel (Sue Craig), and both women used the same words to describe their reaction: "It made me want to be a better person." I concur.

May good fortune smile on you all.

Anne PSAILA BEARDMORE

November 30, 2021

Dear Goldblooms,
I am sorry for your loss. Your parents played a big part in our childhood. I can still hear " Dick and Ruthie" laughing at my parents' dinner parties. Or Ruthie being the entertainment because Magic Tom didnt show up at our birthday party. Such a joy to be around, always something to laugh about, and always so kind to all of us.
I did see Dick on PBS- My Brief but Spectacular Moment- and was very proud to have known him. My last view of Ruthie was a video of her tap dancing, always making others laugh.
Losing parents is indeed a milestone in one's life.
Thoughtfully,
Anne Psaila Beardmore

Peter Rumney

November 29, 2021

To the Goldbloom Family:

My wife and I wish to extend our condolences to you and your loved ones. I had the pleasure of beginning my paediatric training in Halifax and the Izaak Walton Killam Hosp. with Dr. Richard as the Medical Director, and Alan as the Director of the Resident Program. It was an exciting, challenging and stimulating place and time to begin one’s training.

Richard was an approachable, inspiring and truly knowledgeable leader who could teach in a myriad of environments from the bedside, to the classroom and the Conference hall.He epitomized the successful combination of the Art and Science of Medicine to be brought together to provide the best of care for children and their families. He was an excellent listener, astute observer, an easy and jovial story teller as well as the consummate professor and author.

It was a pleasure to be able to talk with him on the ward, the classroom and the cafeteria with equal ease. I am also pleased to say that he could share a joke as Paul Grimm has described in his message about Professor’s rounds on April 1st that one year.

I am thankful that I was able to learn from, and work with Dr. Goldbloom so early in my career, and I believe that his influence then, has truly directed my practice and teaching style throughout the ensuing 37 years. He will be truly missed, but more importantly appreciated for who he was and what he and Ruthie were able to achieve in the IWK, Halifax and the Maritimes.

Peter Rumney MD - Toronto

Denis Daneman

November 27, 2021

My deepest sympathies go to all members of the Goldbloom family. Canada has lost one of its icons of pediatrics and child health. I wish all the Goldbloom the strength to navigate through this difficult time.
Dick was a highly respected leader in Paediatrics, always with a smile on his face and tons of stories in his pocket. He had the common touch, always interested in building a better future for the children of Canada.
With my deepest sympathies.
Denis Daneman.

Norah Henry

November 25, 2021

Alan, Barbie and David, Thank you so much for sharing your happy memories. It brought back so much to me as a patient (5 kids) in Montreal and friend for over seven decades. My husband, the late John Henry and your dad went through med school together, then we all journeyed to Nova Scotia and PEI. Yes, you are lucky and so were we to have had such a good and loyal friend. My sincere sympathy, Norah

Sonya Corkum

November 24, 2021

Dr. Goldbloom was a passionate clinician, leader and family man. His legacy lives on through passing on those very same traits plus a large dose of laughter and humour. I know, as I had the privilege to work with his son Alan at Sick Kids Hospital. To the entire Goldbloom family, you’ve all had lucky lives to be so fortunate to share yours with your Dad and Mom.
Kindest Regards
Sonya Corkum
St. Margaret’s Bay, N.S.

Paul Grimm

November 24, 2021

My wife and my condolences to Alan and the family.
I was a pediatric resident at the IWK in the early 1980s. I remember struggling to understand how this man could be so brilliant, yet so welcoming and calm and human. Being invited to his home for dinner with him and Ruthie and a few other residents was 1 of the heights of my experience there. What I remember was also how much of a teacher he was, how effortless he made it seem and how vast was the well of his knowledge and experience.
Once a week there was a "professors rounds" where the residents would present to him a case, doling out little bits of information at a time, and we would marvel as he picked up the points, asked piercing questions, came to a diagnosis and management plan that was worth writing up in a learned journal. There was only one time he was ever stumped. 1 of my colleagues, Dr. Peter Rumney presented a very complex patient with a neurological disorder… And when he introduced the actual patient at the end of the presentation it was a "Cabbage Patch Doll". Richard enjoyed having a joke played on himself as well.
Even now, when I am rounding with the students at Stanford University School of Medicine where I work, I try and channel some of his presence. I believe that, through me and the countless other pediatricians he trained, he is continuing to teach the younger generation to care for children and their whole families in that "Goldbloom" tradition.
Paul Grimm

Carole Cooley

November 24, 2021

Dear Goldbloom Family:
On behalf of the entire Kids Help Phone team, our sincere condolences on the passing of your Father - a special gentleman. We met Richard and Ruth Goldbloom when Ruth agreed to lend her name to our new fundraising event, the Ruth Goldbloom Ladies Golf Classic, which has raised more than $1.1 million in support of youth mental health and wellness to date. Richard was a caddie the first year of the event, and regaled his team with stories and laughter. For several years following Ruth’s passing he would attend the event, greeting the golfers with his warm smile. We are grateful to the Goldbloom family for sharing your parents with Kids Help Phone.

Lisa Archambault

November 24, 2021

Dr Richard Goldbloom was an exemplary man and a gift to all who had the pleasure of meeting him. Of all the people who I trained with as a student and paediatric resident, I was most influenced by him. Surely a little part of him lives on in me in the way I try to approach my patients and their families. Grateful ❤️. Condolences to his family and close friends.