Dr. H. Bruce Williams (1929-2017)

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. H. Bruce Williams on March 24th, 2017 at the age of 87 after a brief illness. A gifted surgeon, insightful researcher and engaging teacher, Dr. Williams served the patients and families of the Montreal Children’s Hospitals since 1962.

Dr. Williams was the Chairman of McGill’s Division of Plastic Surgery until 2007, Director of its residency program until 2010 and served as the Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief for 14 years. Over the course of his long and illustrious career, Dr. Williams trained generations of residents, including Dr. Mirko Gilardino, who now make important contributions to the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery in Canada and around the world.

Dr. Williams was the first physician to establish microsurgical research in Canada.  This early laboratory research allowed for the successful repair of tiny arteries and veins barely the size of a human hair and led to broad clinical applications, including revolutionizing the ability to reattach amputated fingers, hands and other injured body parts.  In 1988, he introduced laser surgery at the Children’s, where it is now routine treatment for many disciplines, including plastic surgery, urology, ophthalmology and otolaryngology.

Dr. Williams was also a tireless fundraiser. In 1997, he used his love of golf to give back to the hospital by cofounding the Montreal Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament.  Now in its 20th year, the tournament has become one of the MCH Foundation’s most successful events, raising more than $10 million and endowing several academic chairs.

To his colleagues and students, Dr. Williams was a skilled and respected specialist and a valued advisor. One of the most telling signs of Dr. Williams’ success and caring approach is how many of his former patients stayed in contact with him throughout his lifetime, grateful for how he enriched and improved their lives.

“The return of these children to normal life is the most rewarding gift of all.”
Dr. Bruce Williams


A service will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, where he was a Ruling Elder.

In lieu of flowers, his family notes that donations in his memory to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation would be greatly appreciated.