Dr Ken Morton, professor emeritus of orthopaedics at UBC, died suddenly on 13 August.
Ken Morton grew up and received his early education in Burnaby. He received both his undergraduate and his MSc degree from UBC. He graduated in medicine from McGill University in 1950. Upon returning to BC he interned at Vancouver General Hospital and did his residency in orthopaedic surgery, receiving his FRCSC in 1955.
After completing his orthopaedic residency, Ken received the prestigious ABC Fellowship and spent a year visiting centres in the US and Britain. He developed a special interest in the treatment of bone tumors and founded the bone tumor registry.
Ken was first appointed to the UBC faculty of medicine in 1957, and in 1973 he was appointed head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. Ken understood the concept of teamwork, and his efforts led to long-lasting productive relations with not only the BC Cancer Agency, but also with biomedical engineers and the Department of Anatomy.
I was honored to have been among the first group of residents appointed during his tenure as leader. In 1984 Ken and I successfully led the battle to gain full university departmental status for orthopaedics (unique in Canada). This was a selfless act on Ken’s part since he did not stay on as leader of the new department, leaving it to others to build on the strong roots he had helped create. He was also, to my knowledge, the only person to reject a nomination as president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association.
He was tremendously caring toward patients and balanced the difficult and stressful field of bone cancer treatment with that of general orthopaedics and academics. He was also extremely productive as an author of original research in our field.
Ken was proud of his Scottish heritage and also of his Burnaby roots. His interests and external hobbies were broad, extending well beyond the field of medicine and orthopaedics. He was a writer and a man of the arts and literature, and he served as president of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
I personally learned so much from Ken Morton, a man who balanced strength and compassion. The orthopaedic community in Canada has lost one of its great leaders. We will miss his presence but remember his legacy. He was a humble and modest man, with little to be modest about.
Ken leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Joyce; their son, Greg; daughter, Laurie (Bruce) Hutchinson; and eight grandchildren, one great grandchild, and nine nieces and nephews. We will all miss this very special man.
—Brian Day, MBChB
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