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David Richard Bevan

March 15, 1941 - May 9, 2024

David Richard Bevan died on May 9, 2024, after a distinguished career in Anesthesiology and a fulfilling family life. He was born in Mountain Ash, Wales, into a medical family. His father, Richard Bevan, was Chief Medical Officer to the Welsh Office and his mother, Beryl Bevan, was a pathologist. His brother, John, became a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist and sister, Catherine, a dentist.

His education began as a chorister at Llandaff Cathedral School, and he was one of two boys taken by the Archbishop of Wales to sing at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. He attended Clifton College, Bristol, where he was Head Boy and represented the school at rugby, cricket, and hockey. He won a closed scholarship to Cambridge University in 1959 and went to Clare College for his first degree. He obtained his medical degree from Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London, graduating with Distinction in 1965. His commitment to a short-term commission in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) did not interrupt his training in medicine, as he completed his specialty in Anesthesia (FRCA) and medicine (MRCP) at the same time. After his discharge he was a Senior Registrar in Anesthesia at Hammersmith Hospital, then a Senior Lecturer and Consultant at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

He married Deryn Walton in 1963, and they had two sons, Andrew and Simon. After their divorce he married Joan Claire Scott, a pediatric anesthesiologist, in 1972. They had a son, Peter, and a daughter, Siân. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Professor Sir Gordon Robson, David emigrated from the UK to Canada in 1978.

David thrived in the developing specialty of Anesthesiology in North America, combining clinical and administrative leadership with research into the new neuromuscular blocking agents, editorial roles and scientific publication. In 1978 he joined the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Department of Anesthesia, McGill University, in Montreal. He became Professor and Chairman of the Anesthesia Department, which attracted anesthesiologists and trainees from around the world. He was the first incumbent of the Wesley Bourne Endowed Chair and established the Harold R Griffith Endowed Chair. His submission to Canada Post to issue a commemorative stamp to honour Dr Griffith, who made the landmark introduction of curare into anesthesia fifty years earlier, was successful in 1991.

In 1992 David moved to Vancouver where he was Chief, Department of Anesthesia, Vancouver General Hospital and Professor of Anesthesia at the University of British Columbia. During this time, he expanded his reach internationally, promoting Canadian anesthesia worldwide in his roles as Editor in Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia (1988-2000), Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Anesthesia Research Society (2005-2006), Chairman, Scientific Organising Committee, World Congress, Montreal (2000) and Vice President, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (2003-4).

David took great satisfaction from his time as Professor of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto and Chief of Anesthesia, University Health Network (2000-2006). He built on its strengths, and the department flourished in clinical and academic productivity. He supported his department members during their time in Toronto and after they left. Challenged by the chronic shortage of anesthesiologists in the Canadian healthcare system, his actions in closing operating rooms due to dangerous staffing levels were strongly opposed; however, he knew it was the right move. It eventually led to the introduction of the Anesthesia Assistants program, which has become a model for physician assistant roles in many disciplines.

After retirement in 2006, David enjoyed a few years in part-time clinical practice at Huntsville Memorial District Hospital, Huntsville, until 2016 when he and Joan retired to Riverbend Golf Community, London, Ontario. His interest in sports continued throughout his life, and he later added golf, ice hockey, and baseball to his essential rugby and cricket. He had a love for classical music and a keen interest in historical and current world events.

He proudly followed the successes of his previous colleagues, but his joy came from his family, Andrew (Melissa Armstrong), Simon (Laurie Bevan), Peter (Lauren Patton) and Siân (Bruno Malta). His seven grandchildren, Gillian, Lindsay, Oscar, Owen, Rachel, Madeleine and Emma, were a constant source of enjoyment. He will be missed by all the family and his loss deeply felt by Joan, his wife of 51 years, closest friend and professional colleague.

According to David’s wishes, there will be no service, but the family will gather for a celebratory dinner in Riverbend and scattering of his ashes in Toronto.

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Dear Joan and family, As a McGill trained anesthesiologist, I had the privilege of learning from both Bevans when I trained in the late 80's early 90's in Montreal. They both were leaders of academic anesthesia in their respective institutions, and I received my initial training on clinical research while there. I will be forever grateful! Imagine my surprise to be on staff and again, having David Bevan as a chief in Toronto. Dr. Bevan provided an amazing contribution to anesthesia across our country. His research, his belief in academic department activities and his counsel to many budding anesthesiologists will be fondly remembered. I hope you hear from all of us, how profoundly he impacted our careers. Alison Macarthur

~ Alison Macarthur

My deepest sympathies to my close friend Joan and David’s family. He was a good man, who loved to argue politics and had a keen sense of humor about life. Perhaps David and John are enjoying a round of golf, wherever they may be! Love, Linn

~ Linn Herron

David is fondly remembered and appreciated by his colleagues in Huntsville. My sincerest sympathy to Joan and the family in his loss ... but he leaves behind him much to be celebrated.

~ Dr. Stephen Hill MD