Hospital, university colleagues remember Dr. Samuel Ludwin

News / General
By Mary Anne Beaudette, KGH RI

Dr. Ludwin is remembered as a cherished teacher, mentor and friend

The health research community at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Queen’s University is mourning the death of Dr. Samuel Ludwin, an internationally recognized specialist in neurodegenerative diseases, and a cherished teacher, mentor and friend.

An MD and neuropathologist who came to Kingston in 1975, Dr. Ludwin was a Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Associate Dean (Health Sciences) at Queen’s University, and Vice-President (Research Development) at Kingston General and Hotel Dieu hospitals.

Dr. Ludwin’s lifelong research into multiple sclerosis (MS) resulted in significant advancements in the understanding of the then-poorly understood disease, and showed the possibilities for myelin regeneration, a possible future breakthrough in the treatment of MS. He was also a passionate advocate for funding of MS research and served in a number of national and international leadership roles in this field. 

Dr. Paul Manley, an anatomic pathologist at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and professor of pathology at Queen’s University, was a longtime, close friend and colleague. “We met in 1970 while doing our residency at Stanford and we both spent our entire careers at Queen’s and KGH,” he says. “He was one of the world’s eminent neuropathologists, known as both a superb diagnostician and a basic science researcher. He also served as chair of major committees and professional organizations in Canada and internationally.”

He also bolstered research locally, Dr. Manley says. “As VP of Research here, he modernized the hospital’s research division, instituting policies that resulted in enhanced funding for clinical research.”

“His residents loved him because he was so kind, so thoughtful and knowledgeable. He was a wonderful mentor to them. He was most pleased that he was revered by those he trained.”   

Dr. Roger Deeley, who recently retired as President and CEO at KGHRI, Vice President of Health Sciences Research at KHSC and Vice-Dean of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, lauded his predecessor’s accomplishments as a champion of collaborative hospital-university research. “Sam was a very early supporter of integrating the research programs at the three hospitals with the Faculty of Health Sciences, and was always a truly supportive colleague,” he says. “He was a source of much sage advice, often delivered with a disarmingly wry sense of humour. I will miss him.”

“Sam was the kind of leader and colleague that every young investigator aspires to be,” says Dr. Steve Smith, current President & CEO, KGHRI, Vice President, Health Sciences Research, KHSC, and Vice-Dean of  Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University. “He had that magical combination of brilliance, humanity and humility that made him beloved to everyone who worked with him.”  


“Dr. Ludwin was a consummate professional and valued friend and colleague to many at KGH and HDH,” says Dr. David Pichora, President & CEO of KHSC. “He was committed to serving the various communities in which he lived and worked. Sam cared about people and had great intellectual curiosity.  He always demonstrated a sincere interest and concern for those around him. Through all of his activities, Sam exemplified our values at KHSC – compassion, respect, partnership, excellence and innovation.”

“All at KHSC were deeply saddened to learn of Dr. Ludwin’s passing,” says Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, Chief of Staff and Vice-President of Medical Affairs, KHSC. “He was a renowned neuropathologist who provided distinguished service as a former Vice- President of Research at KGH and a valued colleague at HDH. Sam was a kind, thoughtful and compassionate colleague who will be greatly missed by his colleagues at KHSC.  We extend our thoughts and sympathy to his family on his passing.”

Those feelings were echoed by Wilma Hopman, a research methodologist who worked with Dr. Ludwin for many years. “He was one of the most big-hearted, generous people I’ve ever known.” She has fond memories of him delivering personalized gifts to staff at Christmas and hosting convivial gatherings at his home. “He had great humanity and a passion for people. And he was humble – he always acknowledged even the smallest things.”

Dr. Ludwin died peacefully at home. He leaves his wife, Vivien, sons Derek and Raymond, and two grandchildren. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the ALS Society of Canada, Queen's University Department of Pathology Research Fund, the Kingston Symphony, or Beth Israel Synagogue.