Dr. Maxwell House, a distance education and telemedicine pioneer and a former lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, has died. He was 87.
© — Telegram file photo
Dr. Maxwell House was lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1997 to 2002.
According to a bio in Memorial University’s Gazette, House graduated from Dalhousie University’s medical school in 1952 and pursued postgraduate training in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute and the National Hospital in London, England.
House was actively involved in establishing the medical school at Memorial University and held many senior appointments in the faculty of medicine.
He served as director of continuing medical education, associate dean for professional affairs and professor of neurology.
In 1997 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and served in that position until 2002.
House has played a significant role in the development of information technology in Newfoundland and Labrador and providing health and education services to isolated communities in Canada and abroad.
He founded the telemedicine centre at Memorial University in 1976 and is widely recognized as a world leader in the field. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1989.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale said House’s service to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians began long before he became lieutenant-governor. As a medical doctor, he was a pioneer in harnessing the power of telemedicine to help patients far beyond the touch of the physician’s healing hand.
““For five years from 1997 to 2002, Dr. House — together with his wife, Mary — worked tirelessly to serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as our lieutenant-governor, earning our enduring respect and admiration,” Dunderdale stated in a news release.
“Now, in his family’s time of grief, we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians pause to remember them in our thoughts and prayers, and join them in celebrating his remarkable legacy.”
Dunderdale also noted that, as an international leader in telemedicine, House was decades ahead of the curve. His expertise made a profound difference in developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean, and he was invited to present his research in more than 35 countries.
He also employed his expertise locally as the founding director for MEDICOR, Memorial University’s occupational health facility for offshore medicine.
In honour of House, flags at Confederation Building have been lowered to half-staff.
Lt.-Gov. Frank F. Fagan also issued a statement.
He said House was a medical pioneer and, at one time, was the only neurologist in the province who helped to establish the world-class medical school at Memorial University.
“My association with Dr. House grew when I worked in the telecommunications industry and he started Memorial University’s telemedicine program,” Fagan said. “Recognized as a world leader in the field, it was easy to see the impact he had had, and would continue to have, on medical innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
During his time as lieutenant-governor, House focused on issues such as child poverty, literacy programs, the new economy and the provincial cultural industry. He also established the lieutenant-governor’s website.
House leaves his wife of 61 years, Mary; daughter Rosemary (John Housser); and sons Christopher, and Peter (Colleen); grandchildren Sally and Emma Housser and A.J., Laura and Evan House.
Cremation has taken place. Friends and family can visit the family at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Rd. in St. John’s, on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral service will be held at Gower Street United Church Monday at 2 p.m.