McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Canadian asthma pioneer dies

Published: June 15, 2011
Frederick Hargreave
Dr. Frederick (Freddy) Hargreave, a professor emeritus of McMaster University

Dr. Frederick (Freddy) Hargreave, a professor emeritus of McMaster University who led international advancements in the care of asthma patients, died yesterday. He was 72.

Hargreave joined McMaster University in 1969 in the early days of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine after his medical training at the University of Leeds, U.K. and work as a physician in that city and London.

His studies in asthma changed the way the disease is diagnosed, as he developed innovative tests to measure airway responsiveness and airway inflammation and make decisions on clinical treatments. Hargreave was a leader in the change in focus from just treating asthma symptoms to preventing and controlling them. He was known as an excellent teacher, and he trained many of the world’s current leaders in asthma research.

Hargreave was also one of the founders of the clinic which has become the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at McMaster and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, growing it to become a world centre for investigation and treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory diseases.  Respiratory disease impacts one in five Canadians.

A former student of Hargreave was Paul O’Byrne, now chair of the Department of Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

"Freddy Hargreave will be deeply missed. His scholarship, mentorship and collegiality were legendary and his passion for clinical care, particularly for patients with difficult to treat asthma, was quite unique."

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said: "Before I met Dr. Hargreave, I had heard about his remarkable research that had improved the lives of many people across Canada and beyond. Knowing him, my appreciation grew for his kindness, gentleness and remarkable modesty. It was an honour to know him for many years."

Hargreave retired in 2004, but he had continued to be involved in research studies. He leaves his wife Alix and three children.

A memorial service will take place in Christ's Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North, Hamilton at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2011 followed by a reception to celebrate his life.

Memories, stories and photos of Hargreave can be shared on a memorial website that has been created in celebration of his life.

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