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Dr. William John McIlroy's leadership skills were on display early. Bill, as he was better known, was elected by his peers as School Captain at the prestigious University of Toronto Schools in his senior year.
Dr. McIlroy, who passed away earlier this month, would go on to medical school at the University of Toronto and later teach there. A star with the varsity swim team while studying medicine, he graduated in 1956 before doing post-graduate work in medicine and neurology in Toronto, Boston and London.
Dr. McIlroy joined the staff of Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) in 1962. He was Head of Neurology at TWH from 1971 to 1988, the first Director of the Neurosciences Program from 1985 to 1988 and was appointed Senior Vice-President, Medical Affairs and Education of The Toronto Hospital, a precursor to UHN, from 1990 to 1993.
Dr. McIlroy, a brother, husband, father and grandfather, was also Medical Advisor to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada from 1982 to 2008, and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies from 1989 to 1995.
"Bill McIlroy was a distinguished leader in neurology and medicine," says Dr. Michael Baker, his longtime colleague at TWH, who added that Dr. McIlroy helped build the hospital's "powerhouse neurology division that is now so universally admired.
"When TWH required an interim Physician-in-Chief in 1978, Bill was selected for his talent as a leader and the high level of respect he carried in our department," says Dr. Baker. "Bill was the consummate clinician and clinical teacher.
"He was the 'doctor's doctor' and his talents inspired a generation of physicians who followed in his footsteps."
In Dr. McIlroy's memory, donations can be made to the MS Society of Canada or Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.