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Le Courant

Automne 2012 | 14

Ernest Gendreau

It is always interesting and important to highlight those people who made an historical mark in our area or in the outside world over the course of time. It is therefore of great interest to mention the passing of Mr. Ernest Gendreau, a man well known internationally for his work and discoveries in science.

Ernest Gendreau was originally from Coaticook and he was born here on October 24, 1879. He was the son of Jean-Baptiste Gendreau and Marie-Rose Durocher. Jean-Baptiste Gendreau was very well known in Coaticook as he was a notary, the secretary-treasurer of the municipality, and was actively involved in several social organizations. Dr. Gendreau did his classical studies at the St. Hyacinthe Seminary from 1893-1899. During the course of his studies, he met Bishop Choquette whose encouragement laid the foundation in future research for Mr. Gendreau. After an internship with the Peres Jesuites de Montreal, Mr. Gendreau left to study in London and in Europe. He spent many years of study at the University of Paris. It was here that he obtained his letters as a medical doctor, a doctor of philosophy and theological morality and a Master of Science degree. Upon completion of an internship at the Pasteur Institute, Mr. Gendreau went on to follow a course of studies in chemistry, physics and mathematics at the Universite d'Angers, College de France and at the Sorbonne. He studied for a time at University College, King's College and the Imperial College of Sciences in London. In 1917, he assumed a great responsibility of a laboratory in the city of Paris, assistant in radiology at l'hopital Saint-Antoine de Paris. In 1918, he was chief of the military government laboratories in Paris. In May of 1920, he began work at the University of Montreal as director of studies in the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science. He was a member of the academic senate and the university council, he was a director of the Montreal Radium Institute, which he founded in 1922 as a distinct organization. The University of Montreal was able to participate under the Radium Commission which was composed of professors from the Faculties of Medicine and Science along with provincial government representatives and the City of Montreal.

He was an authority in radiology for more than ten years (1928-1942), he was the honorary president at a majority of Radiological Symposiums held throughout the world. On March 6, 1941, the Montreal newspapers announced that the director of the Montreal Radium Institute, was going to lead the way with a panamerican organization on the battle against cancer by organizing and promoting this fight throughout Canada. Doctor Gendreau was a member of the administration for this Panamerican Organization which was composed of twenty countries in the three Americas.

He was, at the same time, a member of the central coucil of the International Conference on Cancer.

He retired in 1945. He had been the representative of the University of Montreal in many scientific councils. Under his leadership numerous conferences were organized in Montreal, throughout Canada or around the world. To take into account his numerous positions we have chosen to mention the following posts: President of the Radiology Association of Canada; member of the Executive Council, medical section, National Research Council. Colleagues included Banting, Collip and senior members of the Faculties of Medicine at the University of McGill and Toronto; representatives of the Canadian Medical Association in the Medical Section of the Commission on Radio-interference and the President of the Committee of Medical Aids and Devices; member of Urology Societies, Scientific Research on Tuberculosis, the Medical Radiological Society of France, Radiological Study of Electrotheraphy, Physics Societies, the Gastro-Enterology Society of France, the International Society on Gastro-Enterology; vice president of the American Radium Society and member of the medical Canadian National Research Council in Ottawa.

His brilliance and affability did a great deal to his becoming known and appreciated around the world. The importance of radiological service and the influence of Dr. Gendreau were quickly recognized by the members of the University to understand the need for Canada and the United States to have an institute capable of competing with the world's best. A whole generation benefitted from his vast knowledge and experience. Under his capable leadership, a group engaged in research for the advancement of science.

He is a pleasant lecturer and professor full of talent and ability who possesses the skill to make dry subjects come to life. Dr. Gendreau is known as a pleasant lecturer. The topics of his conferences bring back wonderful memories of interesting discussions and very informative lectures.

The Dr. Ernest Gendreau died June 5, 1949 at the age of 69 years. He was a single man. Through his ability, experience and his work, Mr. Dr. Gendreau was an honored Canadian and the pride of Coaticook...one of our own.

References: L'Etoile de l'Est

Site des Anciens du Seminaire de St.-Hyacinthe

Docteur Ernest Gendreau

Ernest Gendreau



Le Courant

Le Courant est publié par la Société une fois par année. Membres de la société, historiens professionnels et amateurs partagent avec les lecteurs le fruit de leurs recherches. Les textes sont disponibles en français et en anglais. La publication de cette revue est rendue possible grâce au soutien de commanditaires locaux que nous remercions avec toute notre gratitude.

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