Lives of the fellows

John Harry Ebbs

b.18 September 1906 d.1 June 1990
MD Toronto(1931) DCH Lond(1935) MD Birm(1938) MRCP(1948) FRCPC(1948) FRCP(1964) Hon LLD Trent(1975)

Harry Ebbs was born in England, the son of John William Ebbs and Clara Kelk. The family emigrated to Canada and Harry was educated at King George School, Peterborough, Ontario, and Peterborough Collegiate. From his earliest days he exhibited gifts of both scholarship and leadership. He went on to study medicine at the University of Toronto and after graduation in 1931 he determined to make a career in paediatrics.

Postgraduate training included internships at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the Babies’ Hospital in New York and the Childrens’ Hospital in Birmingham, UK, where he became Sir Leonard Parsons’ [Munk's Roll, Vol.lV, p.588] chief resident. He married Adele, née Statten in 1935 and they had three children, two daughters and a son.

Harry Ebbs returned to Toronto in 1938 as a member of the teaching staff of the Hospital for Sick Children and was appointed professor of paediatrics in 1964. During the second world war he was a medical officer in the 48th Highlanders, Canada, with the rank of captain, and his early interest in nutrition was recognized when he was appointed as one of the consultants to the Canadian Government on food rationing and prisoner of war parcels. Because of his continuing interest in physical growth and development he was appointed director of the school of physical and health education at the University of Toronto but continued to hold a consultant appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children.

His administrative skills were exceptional and he was appointed scientific programme organizer for numerous Canadian, American and international paediatric meetings. He also became a sought after guest lecturer in Canada and abroad, and was involved in setting up a number of paediatric wards in third world countries. He joined the Canadian Society for the Study of Diseases in Children in 1939 and was president of the Canadian Paediatric Society from 1955-56; chairman of the council of the American Pediatric Association in 1961, and a corresponding member of the British Paediatric Association - where he gave the George Frederic Still [Munks Roll, Vol.IV, p.432] lecture in 1961. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1964.

Harry Ebbs had a lifelong interest in children’s camping and for many years he was medical director of the Taylor Statten Camps for boys and girls. For his contributions in this field he received much recognition from camping organizations throughout North America. He was a life member of the New York Academy of Sciences and recipient of the Canada Medal in 1967. He was also on the advisory council for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

He published many scientific papers and contributed specific chapters in 14 medical textbooks. In 1973 he published a short article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled ‘Canadian Paediatric Society looks back on 50 years of service to child health’ and a second in 1980 entitled ‘The Canadian Paediatric Society: its early years.’ It was his intention to write a comprehensive history of the Society but he was prevented from doing so by ill health. He suffered a significantly disabling stroke in 1989, from which he survived for approximately 18 months.

JAP Turner
J D Bailey

[Paediatrics in Canada, Ottawa, Canadian Paediatric Society, 1990,pp.30-31]

(Volume IX, page 147)

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