Dr. Laurence Becker, Chief, Department of
Paediatric Laboratory Medicine and Head, Division of Pathology at The
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, died on July 17, 2002 after a full
and happy life shortened by cancer.
Larry graduated from the University of
Alberta Medical School (1967) and completed postgraduate specialization
in neuropathology at the University of Toronto (U of T) and Johns
Hopkins Medical School. He joined the U of T Faculty of Medicine, The
Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) and Toronto General Hospital in 1974.
In 1980, Larry was appointed Professor in the Department of Pathology,
at U of T. He was the founding Chief of the Department of Paediatric
Laboratory Medicine and was recently re-appointed for a second term as
Chief. Larry was Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at HSC from
1996-2000 and contributed extensively to numerous hospital, university
and international academic committees. Larry was considered a world
authority on Pediatric Neuropathology. He authored over 300
publications, held numerous research grants, was an invited speaker at
scientific meetings around the world and recipient of numerous awards
and honors. In his years with the HSC, Larry fostered a strong academic
environment, not only for colleagues, but also a network of
international postgraduate trainees. He had a particular research
interest in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and was Chair of the Research
Advisory Council for the Canadian SIDS Foundation.
Larry was well known to members of the
SPP for his numerous contributions to pediatric neuropathology and
studies on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Many members benefited from his
mentorship as Larry has trained the next generation of Pediatric
Neuropathologists both in Canada and abroad. Larry was also active in
the SPP organization and served as Councilor and member on various
committees. The SPP Symposium in Pediatric Neuropathology held earlier
this year in Chicago was dedicated to Larry in recognition of his many
contributions to pediatric pathology. He was very appreciative of this
honor so well deserved.
Larry loved traveling, theatre, opera,
and was a collector of antiques and oil lamps. An avid runner, he
participated in the Toronto marathon as well as other races. Larry has
inspired family, friends and colleagues in many ways and he will live in
our hearts forever.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be
appreciated to establish lectureships in his name at The Hospital for
Sick Children Foundation, 555 University Avenue, Toronto M5G 1X8 Canada, or the
SIDS Foundation, 586 Eglinton Ave E, Ste 308, Toronto M4P 1P2 Canada.
A Message from Henry Krous, President,
I am sure I speak on behalf of the entire Society in expressing our
profound sadness and sense of loss on the passing of one of our most
distinguished members, Dr. Larry Becker, from the Hospital for Sick
Children in Toronto.
Larry was a rare combination of the consumate gentleman, treasured
outstanding neuropathologist, inspiring teacher, and effective
administrator. He was the ideal physician, a role model for all of
us in so many ways.
I am sure many of us have fond memories of our experiences and
friendship with Larry. In addition to many other experiences, I
particularly remember a week with
Larry in Australia where he dazzled us with his illuminating lectures,
witty humor, great dancing - the best North America had to offer to
those "down under" at a conference on SIDS that was markedly
enhanced by Larry's contributions.
It is my hope that many of you will contribute to the lectureship to
be established in his name at The
Hospital for Sick Children. Donations to support the lectureship should
be sent to The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.
Our thoughts and prayers go to his family, friends and colleagues
during these very sad times.
I have been away from work this week and have just come in to clear out some
emails when I saw the news about Larry. I can't actually describe my
feelings of sadness that such a great fellow has gone.
Larry was all
that you said and more - his personal kindness and friendship was something
that has touched so many people. I regard myself as privileged to have worked
with him and to have known him as a friend - the world is certainly a
poorer place for his passing.
Henry has spoken for all of us.
I treasured the opportunity to use
Larry's great expertise and insight, over several consultations and
general discussions. When I was in Hamilton, these were often done by
phone calls as and when the thought occurred! Despite
a busy schedule and the often inconvenient timing, Larry always found
the time to be helpful, informative and collegial--a difficult demeanor
to maintain if the supplicant is inclined to be argumentative, as did
happen on occasion.
We have lost a great gentleman and colleague. It
is nice to be great, but greater to be truly nice, and Larry was both.
Derek de Sa
If you wish to add a few words, an anecdote, or a comment to this memorial page,
please email to Robert Ruiz.