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1924 – 2016

JEAN G. COUTURE, M.D., 1924 – 2016

Laval University and the Canadian Community of Surgeons lost one of its most beloved ambassadors with the death of Jean Couture at the age of 92.

Jean was born in Quebec City where he obtained his undergraduate education at the Jesuit's College. He then attended Laval University where he obtained his M.D. degree in 1949. Surgical education was obtained at Laval University, Bellevue Medical Centre and New Rochelle Hospital affiliated with New York University.

Dr. Couture then served the St. Sacrement Hospital and Laval University Department of Surgery with unfailing loyalty at every level. He played an important role in the surgical education of medical students and residents at Laval. His chosen field of interest clinically and experimentally involved surgical oncology. He rose through the ranks at Laval to become Chairman of the Department of Surgery and later Vice-Dean in the Laval Faculty of Medicine. Laval recognized Jean Couture with an Emeritus Professorship and he was named one of its distinguished alumni in 2000.

His role in Canadian Surgery was monumental and included participation in the Editorship of the Canadian Journal of Surgery. He was a vigorous participant in all Canadian surgical organizations and many U.S.A. and international societies. In Canada, he served as President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1984-86. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors for the American College of Surgeons. He played a pioneering role in the Canadian Association of General Surgery. He was a member of the L’Académie de Chirurgie de Paris. He held honorary fellowships in the Royal College of South America, England, Australia and the Canadian Association of General Surgeons.

Since his retirement (1988), he began the "Projet Chine" which was an international co-operation between St. Sacrement Hospital at Laval and the University of Norman Bethune (now fused with the University Jilin in Changchun). The goal was to establish a world class oncology unit patterned after the unit he established at Laval. His greatest support came from his wife Virginia who was a pivotal supporter in all of his professional life. This successful project was awarded by the Friendship Award from the Government of China. Dr. Couture was also the recipient of the Order of Canada and is a Chevalier of the Order of Quebec.

It is an honor to pay homage to a quiet giant of Canadian Surgery who will be greatly missed by his wife and children, and all of his surgical colleagues.