Farquharson, Ray Fletcher

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Farquharson, Ray Fletcher

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1897-1965

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Ray Farquharson was born on 4 August, 1897 in Claude, Ontario and graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1922. After six years of post-graduate medical training and research, he was appointed to the staff of the Dept. of Medicine in 1928. In 1934 he became Assistant Professor of Medicine and Head of the Dept. of Therapeutics. In 1947, Dr. Farquharson succeeded Professor Duncan Graham as the Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor of Medicine and Head of the Dept. of Medicine in the University of Toronto, and as Physician-in-Chief at the Toronto General Hospital. In 1960 he retired from these positions to become Chair of the new Medical Research Council of Canada.

Farquharson entered the University of Toronto Medical School in the Fall of 1917, but joined the Canadian Field Artillery as a Gunner in the Spring of 1918. He was recalled from the army to his studies the following October. During the Second World War he served as the Consultant in Medicine to the director of Medical Service, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Dr. Farquharson made major contributions to medical research in the areas of calcium metabolism, pernicious amaenia, Simmond's disease, and anexora nervosa, and was an early and strong advocate of the application of detailed laboratory studies to the investigation of human illnesses. He was also renowned for his understanding of people and his relating to patients as individuals.

From 1945 Dr. Farquharson was a member of committees of the National Research Council, rising to a full member in 1954 and Vice-President (Medical) in 1957. The following year he chaired the Special Committee on Medical Research which resulted in the "Farquharson Committee Report" in 1959. The latter led to the founding of the Medical Research Council of Canada in 1960, of which he was appointed the first chair.

In all, Dr. Farquharson sat on the boards or advisory committees of over twenty medical and lay foundations and research-promoting groups.

He was the recipient of many awards and honours, including an LLD from the University of Toronto in 1962. He was a member, fellow and/or president of a number of professional bodies in Canada, England and the United States, including the Royal Society of Canada (1960) and the Royal Society of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (President, 1945-1947). He sat on the Senate of the University of Toronto for many years and was appointed to the first Board of York University in 1959.

Farquharson married Ena Fraser in 1931 and they had two daughters, Jane and Helen (Nell). He died of a heart attack on 1 June, 1965 while at a meeting of the Medical Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.

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