Respected London family doctor remembered as dedicated educator

A respected London doctor and educator, known for his role as a mentor at Western University’s medical school, was identified Monday as the victim in a fatal two-vehicle crash Friday by Oxford County OPP.

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A London doctor who died from injuries he suffered in a car crash practiced family medicine in the city for more than 40 years and is being remembered as a pillar of medical education at Western University.

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John Sangster, 79, was injured in a crash Friday in Zorra Township and died in hospital, Oxford OPP said Monday. Two vehicles collided at the intersection of Oxford Road 96 and 37th Line just before 3 p.m.

Western’s Schulich School of medicine and dentistry outlined Sangster’s contributions to the school in a memoriam posted on its website, describing him as a “pillar” who championed excellence in medical education.

Sangster completed residency at Western in 1970 and practiced family medicine for more than 40 years while also working as an academic.

In 1984, he was appointed director of the graduate studies program in family medicine.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Sangster mentored countless medical students and residents in family medicine,” Western’s medical school said.

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In an online obituary, his family said he blazed a trail at Western as one of the first graduates of the school’s family medicine residency program.

“He was a well-known and highly respected clinician who enjoyed practicing and promoting comprehensive family medicine,” his obituary said.

“He became a full-time clinical academic physician in the department of family medicine practicing at the Byron Family Medical Centre, where he served as medical director for 18 years,” the obituary said.

Sangster also served as chair of the Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario.

In its tribute, Western noted Sangster had earned a number of awards during his career, including the school’s Dr. Ian McWhinney teaching award and the dean’s award for excellence in education. He also was named the family physician of the year for Region 2 by the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

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“The thread through all these accomplishments,” Sangster’s obit said, “was his ability to connect with his patients, students, colleagues, and all those around him, including his many friends, and of course his family.” He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, stepfather, and grandfather, he said.

Born on Valentine’s Day in 1943, Sangster attended primary, secondary and post-secondary schools in the Forest City. He loved to travel and was an avid sports fan who supported the London Knights, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, Raptors and Maple Leafs, his obituary said.

Sangster described his attraction to family medicine in a 2018 article by Western’s medical school to mark the 50th anniversary of its family medicine department.

“I was a family physician for 43 years, and have cared for multiple generations of families, and had the privilege to live through unique experiences with many of them,” he said.

Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday from 2 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm at Westview Funeral Chapel, with a funeral to follow Thursday at 1 pm The family has requested that attendees wear masks.

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