Dr David McNiell Bolton

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 7, September 2010, page(s) 339 Obituaries
Mark Schonfeld, MD, Phyllis Bolton

Loved and respected by those who met and worked with him, David passed away at the Vancouver General Hospital on 10 July 2010. 

David was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 7 April 1928 where he lived with his parents, Alexander and Roberta Bolton, and his two brothers, John and Sandy. At the age of 20 David graduated from Edinburgh University with a BSc in forestry. 

From his early boyhood David was fascinated with the information he had collected and the books he had read about Canada, and although his heart was always in Scotland, he resolved to emigrate. 

He was offered a position with a Canadian company called Price Brothers in Quebec. He had no idea that French was a required language. Being a dough­ty Scot he obtained recordings and immersed himself in the language and learned to speak with a particularly good accent. 

After 5 years as a forest engineer, new life challenges beckoned. He had long had an interest in medicine, and he was accepted into pre-med and then medical school at Laval University, where he graduated with honors. 

Not long after graduation he was exposed to the beauty and temperate climate of British Columbia and moved with his family (his wife, nee Suzanne Langlois) and his two children, Brian and Carol, to Vancouver, where Michelle was born. 

David enjoyed six very busy years in general practice before taking a break to travel with his family. His career change took him to Philadelphia and employment by Merck & Co., where he had editorial responsibilities in the publication of the Merck Manual. 

Once again he realized his comfort zone was in Canada and he returned to Vancouver in 1969 to become executive secretary of the British Columbia Medical Association. In 1974 he ac­cepted a position in Victoria as senior medical advisor to the Medical Services Plan. 

From 1980 to 1988 he headed the Medical Services Commission as the sole commissioner and chair. He prepared the BCMA’s submission and response to the Royal Commission on Health Care and Costs in 1991. He also served as director of corporate affairs with the BC BioMedical Laboratories. He chaired the BCMA membership committee from 1990 to 1993, and he served as director of professional relations from 1992 to 1995. 

He also served as a BCMA member of the Tripartite Medical Services Commission from 1994 to 1998. In 1994, in recognition of his dedication and capabilities he was elevated to senior membership in the Canadian Medical Association, and in 2000 he was awarded the most prestigious honor of the BCMA, the Silver Medal of Service. 

After moving to Salt Spring Island with his wife, Phyllis (nee Wakelyn), whom he married in 1980, David took part in many community activities, most notably the Greenwoods Eldercare Society and the Greenwoods Foundation. 

David has been described as being kind, sensitive, and passionate, a sage advisor and a fine “scrapper,” but he was always respectful to and of others. 

David was predeceased by his brother John and is survived by his brother Sandy (Joyce) Bolton in Edinburgh. He will be forever loved and missed by Phyllis, his children Brian (Julie) Bolton, Carol (Wayne) Olafson, Michelle (Craig) Bentley, and grandchildren Nathan, Ryan, Jori, Kyle, Cara, Jesse, and Darius. 

His passing will be mourned by many other relatives and friends as well as his step-children Robert (Linda) Whittome, John (Catherine) Whittome, Jimmy and Janet Whittome, and grandchildren Robert, Graeme, Melanie, Kathleen, Emily, and Sophie. 

The family would appreciate donations to the Greenwoods Foundation c/o The Greenwoods Eldercare Society, 133 Blain Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 1Z9.
—Phyllis Bolton
Salt Spring Island
—Mark Schonfeld, MD
BCMA President and CEO

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