Generously, since 1992, he voluntarily shared his time, caring support & expert knowledge mentoring the Neutropenia Support AssocIation Inc. 

Lorna Stevens, President NSAI


FREEDMAN, DR. MELVIN HARRIS Peacefully, passed away at his home on January 2, 2019, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. A brilliant Pediatric Hemotologist, talented musician, loving family-man and nature enthusiast, he leaves behind his beloved and loyal wife of 55 years, Lila Oberman Freedman, his devoted children, Monica Freedman Eckman and David Eckman, Dr. Jamie Freedman and Jill Loftiss, as well as cherished grandchildren Ben and Alex Eckman and Wolfe Freedman-Loftiss. Also leaves dear sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Estelle and Dr. Arthur Blank, nephew and niece Michael and Jane Blank and children. He was predeceased by his parents, Ben and Norma Freedman (as well as Naomi Freedman) from Saint John, New Brunswick and parents-in-law, Nathan and Mary Oberman (and Betty Oberman) as well as dear sister and brother-in-law, Ellen Freedman Hochberger and Fred Hochberger, Jr. from Newton, Massachusetts. He was a fond uncle to his numerous Hochberger and Stavis nephews and nieces throughout the United States. Born on July 4, 1939 in Saint John, New Brunswick, he graduated as a top student at Dalhousie University Medical School, excelled in training in Pediatric Medicine at Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University and was successful as a Hematology-Oncology Clinical and Research Fellow at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, University of Southern California. In 1971, he joined the Faculty at The Hospital for Sick Children, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Toronto as a clinician, researcher and teacher. For 34 years, he led groundbreaking patient-related research ranging from clinical trials to basic laboratory studies of hematological cancer and inherited and acquired bone marrow failure disorders. Dr. Freedman soared in the medical world with hundreds of research publications and abstracts submitted to prominent scientific meetings and for chapters in major hematology and oncology textbooks. He was a sought-after world-wide lecturer and visiting Professor. A true leader in the medical community, he served on the Examination Board for Certification in Hematology of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as well as a member of the Hematology Committee for Training Programs, Accreditation in Canada and Member and Chair of the Research Ethics Board at the Hospital for Sick Children. He received numerous prestigious awards, promotions and nominations including, but not limited to: University of Toronto Full Professor; Distinguished Emeritus Award; Israel Cancer Research Fund Scientific Honoree; New York's Daniella Maria Arturi Foundation Pioneer Award; Chief of Hemotology/Oncology; Chair of Promotions Committee; listed in Canadian Who's Who; American Men and Women in Science; American Biographical Institute; American Board of Medical Specialities; and lifelong member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honour Medical Society. Intertwined with his hunger for science was his deep passion for music. Melvin was an incredible musician who could play toe-tapping jazz and blues piano and trumpet as if he were a regular on stage at the Bluenote. Always impressive, he could recognize the greats after listening to just one bar of music. He had a fantastic sense of humour and with wit and slapstick comicality he caused laughter from his wife and kids, grandkids, patients, cousins, colleagues, friends and even caring nurses in his final days. He was a tremendous and loyal father, friend and husband, devoting his entire life to being supportive by listening, mentoring and always being available for family and friends. A one-of-a-kind renaissance gentleman, he made a huge difference in many people's lives and has drawers filled with letters attesting to his generosity of time, care and knowledge. Leaving behind a beautiful legacy of dignity and warmth, he will be remembered by all of those whom he impacted from family to friendships to academia. Funeral will be held at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (3 lights west of Dufferin) on Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. Interment at Beth Tzedec Memorial Park. Shiva at the home of Dr. Melvin and Lila Freedman, 55 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B3, Canada. Shiva visit times to be announced. Memorial donations can be made to the Israel Cancer Research Fund at or (Toronto chapter).


Published in Toronto Star on Jan. 5, 2019.