Timothy MacLeod Murray M.D.
Timothy MacLeod Murray MD FRCPC CM 1938-2019
It is with great sadness that the family of Tim Murray announces his passing on August 27, 2019, peacefully at the age of 81, at home in Perth, Ontario. Son of the late Air Commodore John MacLeod Murray CBE CD and the late Doreen Wiltshire. Survived by his wife Joan (nee
Harman); children Peter and Laura; grandchildren Joe and Clara Sismondo; sister Cheryl
Beillard (Michel); cousins Phillip Murray MD (Colleen), Robert Murray, and Pamela Balchin; nephews David and James Richardson and Julien and Mathieu Beillard; and many loyal friends. Tim was Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and had a distinguished career as an endocrinologist and medical researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital. His research on parathyroid hormone and osteoporosis was widely recognized. He was director of the Toronto Centre of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, an epidemiological study on bone health in Canada. As a founding member of the Osteoporosis Society of Canada, he served on its Scientific Advisory Board. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2006.
Born at home in Harwell England on July 1, 1938, near Oxford, Tim was the younger brother of Gillian and Margaret. In 1940 his father John was transferred to Headquarters of the Royal Canadian Air Force in Ottawa to organize their accounting service. In June of that year, Tim’s mother Doreen embarked with the three children (aged 11, 8, and not yet 2) from Southampton, on the Duchess of Bedford, for a tense ten-day crossing of the Atlantic to join her husband. A destroyer accompanied the ship through the Irish Sea but after that they were on their own. In addition to stormy seas and the fear of submarine attack, Doreen was unnerved by a two-day pause in fog and ice over the site of the Titanic, as she well recalled the impact of that loss on her home city. Tim’s arrival in Montreal with his family was recorded on the front page of the Ottawa Journal as they sat on their suitcases waiting to be met. The war years took their toll on family life as Tim’s father devoted more and more time to his responsibilities, and his sister Gillian suffered from episodes of mental illness that were to continue throughout her life. But little sister Cheryl and John’s sister Alex rounded out the Ottawa family, and Tim recalled a happy childhood sledding in Strathcona Park, attending Lisgar Collegiate, skiing at Camp Fortune, and spending summer holidays swimming and fishing at White Lake at the cottage which the family built just after the war. Tim was musical from a young age, playing acoustic guitar, flute, ukulele, and—most importantly—piano. To the end of his life, he started out every piano practice with the five finger exercises he learned from Sister Mary Madeline. Thanks to his friend Sol Gunner, he became obsessed with jazz in high school, and got a regular gig at the Standish Hotel on the other side of the river in Hull.
Tim studied Medicine at Queen’s University, where he met Joan Harman, from Toronto, who was studying Political Science. At Queen’s he formed the Tim Murray Quintet featuring Sol Gunner, Charley Gordon, and Jerry Heath, who continued to be his lifelong friends. He also wrote the music for an original musical, Jeri, which dramatized the outlandish scenario of Canada’s first woman Prime Minister. Joan and Tim both graduated in 1962, and got married the week after. Having joined the RCAF so he could afford a piano, Tim was posted to Churchill, Manitoba where he received a year of excellent medical experience with a great variety of Indigenous and Inuit patients and military personnel. Spectacular northern lights, polar bears, and photography were memorable features of 1963-64. During the next posting, to North Bay, daughter Laura was born. Having fulfilled his commitment to the RCAF, Tim then undertook a Senior Residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, an exciting place to be at the time of Expo 67. With baby Peter, the family then moved to Boston, Massachusetts where Tim worked as a Clinical and Research Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1968-70). Here, he collaborated with scientists from across the world, guided by dynamic leader Dr. John Potts. The Vietnam War formed a troubling backdrop, but Joan and Tim delighted in their young family and exploring Harvard Square and Cape Cod.
In 1971, Tim had an opportunity to return to Toronto, Joan’s home town, where he began a 30-year career as endocrinologist, clinician, researcher and professor at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto. Neighbours on Castle Knock Road were wonderful: on the one side an Anglican priest and his wife, a nurse, with four daughters, and on the other a francophone woman from Montreal and her husband, a businessman from Bombay who taught Joan and Tim how to make chapatis and saag paneer. Indian food became a passion for Tim and in later years he loved experimenting with spices and techniques and even creating original recipes. Tim had a joyous appreciation of the accomplished jazz musicians of Toronto, and his children remember falling asleep under the table at George’s Spaghetti House so he could stay for one more set of Moe Koffman, Bernie Senensky, and Ed Bickert. Once established in a permanent job, Tim grew his beard again, bought a VW camper, and in summer 1975 the family headed across the country. The soundtrack on the 8-track was Johnny Cash, Irish Rovers, and E. Power Biggs. It was a magnificent journey, camping in driveways of friends and national parks all the way to the Pacific Rim, and back through the northern states. In 1979-80, the family lived in Bethesda Maryland, where Tim worked at National Institutes of Health and Joan volunteered at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Throughout his medical career, Tim played jazz and classical piano at home, reunited from time to time with his old bandmates, and in 1989 he formed the group Phoenix with Jerry Heath, son Peter, and two of Peter’s friends.
Tim was a generous and empathetic doctor. He enthusiastically supported a group of volunteer patients working to raise public awareness of the risks and prevention of osteoporosis: this collaboration led to the creation of The Osteoporosis Society of Canada (now Osteoporosis Canada). He greatly enjoyed teaching medical students, and appreciated his superb technicians, staff, and colleagues.
Tim’s medical career brought opportunity for Joan and Tim to visit Europe, Hong Kong, China, U.S., and Scotland. They also loved escaping winter in Barbados and Mexico. Tim was a good travel companion, curious and compatible, loving to rent a car, read a map, and head out in any direction. But he always loved coming home. In 2010, after Tim’s retirement, Joan and Tim decided to leave Toronto for Perth, a town they were familiar with from many trips to the Murray cottage at White Lake. In Perth, they met lovely and interesting new friends and set up the piano for jazz, carols, and Bach. Tim even reunited the Tim Murray Quintet, playing the Fourth Stage at the National Arts Center in Ottawa and releasing a CD of their 50th anniversary concert. In 2013, Tim suffered a heart attack while at JazzWorks jazz camp, and in 2015 he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Tim and his family have been very grateful to Dr. David Lee and the Cancer Care Clinic at Kingston General Hospital, Dr. Peter Cunniffe at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, and the caring staff of Bayshore Home Support in Perth. With the loving and steadfast care of Joan, Tim continued to enjoy his life to the extent he was able. He took flute lessons and adored his time with his growing and musical grandchildren. As his memory deteriorated and his strength waned, he held onto a quiet optimism and small pleasures. While sitting in the sun in the garden or watching a sunset at the cottage, he would often say, “It’s a wonderful world.”
Laura, Joan, and Peter Murray, and Cheryl Beillard, September 2019
1938 – 2019
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Timothy MacLeod
Décès pour la Ville:Smiths-Falls, Province: Ontario