Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Abram Herman Neufeld (1907-2004)

Biochemist, medical researcher.

Born at Nikolayevka, Ukraine on 26 April 1907, son of Herman Abram Neufeld (1860-1931) and Katharina Klassen (1864-1940), he emigrated with his family to Canada in 1923. In 1934, he graduated from the University of Manitoba in honours chemistry, followed by a Master’s degree in science in 1935. In 1936 he commenced work at McGill University with Dr. J. B. Collip as a professor in biochemistry and endocrinology, and as a research associate. That same year, he married Lily Margaret Erickson (1908-2000), originally of Teulon, and they later had two children. In 1937, he earned a doctorate in medical biochemistry.

From 1943 to 1946, he served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and was a liaison officer to the Office of the Surgeon General in Washington, DC. For his war service, he was awarded the War Medal, Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, and Officer Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal. After the war, he studied medicine at McGill University, graduating in 1950. For the next ten years, he was chief of biochemistry and nuclear medicine at Queen Mary Veterans Hospital and a lecturer at McGill. In 1960, he became head of pathological chemistry at the University of Western Ontario Medical School in London, Ontario, and head of clinical pathology at Victoria Hospital. Upon retirement in 1972, he was named professor emeritus.

His deep interest in medical research is evidenced by numerous research grants, publications, and activity in many learned societies. He served as editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Medical Services Journal of Canada. He was one of the founders of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemistry; the first president of the Canadian Association of Medical Biochemists as well as an honorary member; an honorary secretary of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies; and a member of the US National Research Council Committee on haemoglobin standardization. Other distinctions include being a Senior and Life Member of the Canadian Medical Association, as well as memberships in the London and District Academy of Medicine, Canadian Haematology Society, Canadian Association of Pathologists, American Society of Haematology, Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation, and Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. He was also a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

He and his wife enjoyed a long retirement during which he travelled and wrote a book entitled Herman and Katharina, Their Story that documented the pre- and post-revolutionary experiences in rural Russia of his parents, translated and adapted from his father’s diary as an itinerant minister in the Mennonite church.

He died at London, Ontario on 19 February 2004 and was buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 February 2004.

“Herman Abram Neufeld,” Chortitza history and ancestry website, chort.square7.chort

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 5 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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