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Biographical entry Loeb, Jacques Alfred (1925 - 2016)

MB BS London 1949; FRCS 1955; LMMC 1959; FRCSC 1959; FACS 1964.

31 August 1925
Berlin, Germany
10 March 2016
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Anatomist and General surgeon


Jacques ('Jack') Loeb was chief of surgery at the Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and also an author and anatomist. He was born in Berlin on 31 August 1925, the son of Joseph Loeb, founder of Loeb and Sutheim, one of the most prominent furriers in Europe, and Else Loeb (née Hein). His early education was in Berlin at Volksschule West from 1931 to 1934 and at the Kaliski School from 1935 to 1939. His family emigrated to England in May 1939.

He attended Reading School from 1940 to 1943, where he was a house prefect and captain, school prefect and lance corporal both in the cadet corps and the Home Guard. He was awarded school colours in rugby. He also rowed for the school and was the 50-metre breaststroke swimming champion. In 1942 he passed the matriculation examination with the highest marks in the country in chemistry and was awarded school prizes for chemistry, French and German. He always credited his academic success to his housemaster, Wilfred J Streather, who took great interest in his progress and remained a lifelong friend.

In 1943 he was accepted as a medical student at the University of London, at Guy's Medical School. The school was evacuated to Tunbridge Wells following severe damage to Guy's Hospital in the bombing raids of 1940 to 1943. While in Tunbridge Wells he was a member of a Home Guard battalion commanded by Major Jim Whillis, professor of anatomy, that guarded the coast near Ramsgate. He earned his MB BS with honours from Guy's Hospital Medical School at the University of London in 1949. He was awarded the gold medal as the top graduate of the medical schools of the University of London, and the Golding Bird prize in obstetrics and gynaecology.

He did his National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Jamaica, Belize and Grenada from 1951 to 1953. He then elected to join the Territorial Army and remained in the TA until 1959, being promoted to the rank of major.

Shortly after his discharge from the Army, he became a resident surgical officer at Putney Hospital in London and in September 1953 he was appointed as a junior lecturer in anatomy in the University of London, tenable at Guy's Hospital Medical School. A year later he was promoted to lecturer. In September 1955, having obtained his FRCS, he was appointed as a surgical resident at Whittington Hospital in London. In September 1957, he was appointed as a senior surgical resident to the South East Kent Group of Hospitals.

In 1959 he moved to Canada. He obtained his licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada and his fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in 1959. In 1960 he was appointed to the courtesy staffs of the St Joseph's and Queensway hospitals in Toronto. In 1962 he was appointed to the Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, where he served as general surgeon from 1962 to 1985 and chief of surgery from 1974 to 1980.

Upon retiring from the practice of surgery in 1985, he began an appointment as a tutor in anatomy and surgical consultant to the department of anatomy in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto. He was co-author of the second edition of Thompson's core textbook of anatomy (Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1990). In 1990 he retired from the university and spent one day a week at the University of Toronto's international student centre teaching English as a second language to international postgraduate students.

In addition to his distinguished surgical and academic career, Jack was a keen athlete who skied (especially in Arosa, Switzerland), played tennis and golfed until his mid-eighties, was a voracious reader, an opera buff and an enthusiastic international traveller. He continued to correspond with his best friend from Guy's, Michael Gilbert, until 2015.

Jacques was a devoted husband to Joan Sparfel from 1964 until her death in 2012. He had five children - Stephen, Graham and Karen (from an earlier marriage to Jocelyn Bennett), and Lori (Joan's daughter whom Jacques adopted) and Victoria. He had nine grandchildren. He died peacefully at Oakville, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 90 on 10 March 2016, following a short illness.

Lori Loeb

Sources used to compile this entry: [ Dr Jacques A Loeb - accessed 25 November 2016].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England