Stephen Couban

February 24, 1961March 19, 2019

COUBAN, Dr. Stephen - died on March 19, 2019 in his beautiful home in Halifax. Born in Athens, Greece on February 24, 1961, he moved to England with his family and spent his formative years in Church Crookham, Surrey and Biggin Hill, Kent, attending Oaklands Lane Elementary School and Ravensbourne Grammar School. On March 25, 1975, he emigrated with his family to Nova Scotia, first to Prospect Bay and then to Halifax. He graduated from Sir John A. MacDonald High School and completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Cell and Molecular Biology at McGill University. He then completed a Medical Degree (cum laude) at Dalhousie University followed by a rotating internship at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Notre Dame de Gras, Montreal. He was a general practitioner for two years in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia and then pursued further training in Internal Medicine at Dalhousie University, Hematology at McMaster University and a National Cancer Institute of Canada Terry Fox Fellowship in Bone Marrow Transplantation at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Stephen joined the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in 1997 where he was Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program for many years and Hematology Service Chief/Division Head. He held a number of national positions including President of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplant Group, President of the Canadian Hematology Society and Co-Chair of the Hematology Site Group at the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group/Cancer Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG/CCTG). Stephen was recognized nationally as a remarkable leader and his loss will be felt throughout the hematology community in Canada. While Stephen was passionate about clinical trials and the science of hematology, his greatest satisfaction came from the care he delivered to his patients and his role as teacher of medical students and residents. He received numerous teaching awards both as a senior resident and attending physician. Stephen exemplified the dedicated and compassionate physician and countless students have benefitted from his mentorship. He always felt such great joy in seeing others succeed. Even with the many accolades Stephen has received throughout his career, he conducted himself in both his professional and personal life, with humility and grace, unaware of how much of an inspiration he was to those around him: students, colleagues, family and friends. Stephen enjoyed 31 beautiful years with his partner Jim Matthews until Jim’s tragic death in 2017. Together, they travelled all over the world. Amongst their favourite trips were visiting Sfakia and Loutro in Crete and Puerta Vallarta in Mexico. Stephen and Jim were keen cyclists who enjoyed cycling in Greece, India, PEI and around the Cabot Trail. Stephen was an avid runner who enjoyed his early morning runs with Volodko. Stephen is survived by his mother, Paraskevi (Vivi) Couban, his sister and brother-in-law Stella Couban and Bruce Mellon, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Debbie and Howie Moore, Barbara Macdonald and Louis Stubbert, Joanne and Sandy Jardine, Georgina and Ian Macleod, Donna and Robert Hicks, Beth and Andy Harbin, many nieces and nephews and his cousins Rebecca Barreras, Rachel Couban, Bridget Couban and Jon Couban. He is also survived by his best friend and soulmate, Parveen Wasi. His and Jim’s beloved dog, Lily will miss him. Stephen was predeceased by his partner Jim Matthews; his father, John Couban, his uncle, Robert Couban and his brother-in-law, Russell MacDonald. Although Stephen always loved flowers, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Wickwire Fund c/o QEII Foundation or the Friends of Point Pleasant Park. Visitation will be from 6 – 9pm on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Cruikshank Halifax Funeral Home. Funeral Service will be at 11am Tuesday, March 26, in Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church. Father Panagiotis Maropoulos officiating. Reception to follow. Burial will take place in Cape Breton. Online condolences may be viewed or sent


  • Visitation Monday, March 25, 2019
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Stephen Couban

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Tammielee GILLIS-Boudreau

March 28, 2019

My Condolences to Dr.Couban's Family, QE2 Family& Patients.

My Family and I owe, the last 14 years of my Beautiful Life to Dr.Couban .
He went over and above for me,My heart is broken!
Last time I saw him was BMT Dinner 2017.

My thoughts & Prayers to You All!

Gail Gosse

March 28, 2019

Dr Couban was very important in our lives as the primary physician for my husband's stem cell transplant. Dr Couban was an expert in his field and we feel he was a reason that my husband is alive today. We send condolences to his families.

Sarah McMullen

March 27, 2019

Dr Couban exemplified the kid of physician we should all strive to be; compassionate, professional, humble and diligent. He was a kind and gentle colleague; his expertise will be sorely missed.
With sincerest condolences to all of his family and friends and dog Lily.

Diane Labossiere

March 27, 2019

Please accept my deepest condolences on behalf of our family. As with many families, Dr. Couban played an instrumental part in our lives during a very dark time. My son, Keenan was diagnosed with ALL in 2000 and underwent several years of frequent hospitalizations and intense chemotherapy. He suffered a relapse in 2002 that required further chemotherapy and more long hospitalizations. The outcome was not successful and in the end we were told his only hope was to undergo a transplant. Because none of our family was a match, he went on the bone marrow registry and after a two month wait we were informed that a match had been located. It was a day we will never forget.

On September 25, 2003 my son underwent a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. We met Dr. Couban at 3:00 am. I will never forget when he arrived with the cooler in his hand. It was one of the most terrifying times of our life but Dr. Couban instantly brought a sense of calm and reason to the room. He was kind, gentle and so compassionate to us. His presence gave us a hope that we'd never felt before. He was given a gift that many never receive and we were honored to have known him. I truly believe he will live on in all the people who had the privilege to have known him.

Keenan just celebrated his 33rd birthday. He is healthy, happy, adventurous and enjoys life to the fullest. A fitting tribute to Dr. Couban I believe.

Geraldine Johnston

March 26, 2019

I first met Stephen in 1982 in first year Dalhousie medical school. Over the next 4 years we became great friends. I remember only good things about Stephen. He was extremely smart with an incredible memory and wit, he was kind and generous, full of fun and laughter, respectful, courteous and gallant. He had a great sense of humour and we enjoyed lots of laughs together.... in class, on the ward, in day to day life and especially after a visit to Phi Chi fraternity. Stephen, John, Sue, Yvonne and I were a happy group of friends in those days in medical school.
And Stephen went on to do great things after medical school as we all knew he was capable of and that he would do. He has left a profound footprint in his time on this earth. As a physician he helped many people, saved many lives and changed the course of haematological medicine. Stephen’s family should take great comfort and be extremely proud of all that he has done for those whose lives he touched, both in his medical career and elsewhere.
I feel a small part of me has also died with Stephen’s passing. I regret that we did not stay in touch as much as we should have after we had graduated from Dalhousie. I truly loved this great friend and I will miss him dearly forever.

Tracy Chisholm

March 26, 2019

I only had the opportunity to meet Dr. Couban briefly, while he was caring for my mother. Even from those brief moments, his kindness and care and thoughtfulness were abundantly clear. He comforted my mother, who was stressed and afraid, and helped her look to the future with reassurance and understanding.

Sending sincerest condolances to his family and loved ones. We are so deeply sorry for your loss. The many people whose lives he touched are a testamony to the tremendous gifts he gave the world.

Mardi Burton

March 26, 2019

My sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Dr. Couban and the Hematology team. I met Dr. Couban only once when he sat closely to my 90 year old father-in-law and carefully, patiently explained to him the treatment options for his leukaemia as if my father-in-law was the most important person in the entire world. Such a perfect lesson.

Jane Black

March 26, 2019

My Mother has been a patient of Dr Couban’s for many years . She has CML and because of Dr. Couban ‘s excellent care , she celebrated her 93 rd Birthday in February.
We have never met such a kind , compassionate and respectful man as Dr Couban. He always wanted to call her Mrs McDonald , but she insisted on him calling her Barbara, which he reluctantly did , this shows his respect. He always told her she was a perfect patient as she listened to everything he told her about her treatment.. His kind words at each visit always boosted her spirits, she and I are so terribly saddened to hear of his passing.. Such a loss to his family , friends and patients. Thank you so much Dr Couban . Our sincere condolences to your families. RIP You Wonderful Man
Jane Black and Barbara McDonald

Gayle Noah

March 26, 2019

It was a privilege to have met him and been under his expertise and care. He was a brilliant doctor and one of the kindest persons I’ve ever met. I was a patient of his and met Dr. Couban 5 years ago when first diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. My husband and I arrived to his clinic shattered and in pieces and he gave us the courage to fight this terrible disease. The world was a much better place with him in it..and he will be missed.

Amanda Friis

March 26, 2019

As a Clinical Pharmacy Technician who works on the Medical Day Unit at the VG hospital I have heard many touching stories of Dr. Couban’s compassion for his patients. I only met Dr. Couban once, it was this past fall during a group photo of the 2018 Cyclepaths cycling team. He was so humble, introduced himself to me as Stephen, shook my hand and thanked me for all my hard work.
Thank you Dr. Couban - for the lives you saved, the medical staff you taught and inspired and the leadership you provided to the entire Hematology Department.
I hope you are at peace. To your family and friends I would like to send my sincerest condolences.