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Remembering Dr. Ron Wigle

Remembering Dr. Ron Wigle

“Laugh a lot. A good sense of humour cures almost all of life’s ills”

-Ritu Ghatourey

On Wednesday September 21st, the Queen’s and Kingston communities lost a very special individual. Dr. Ron Wigle passed away with his family by his side at the age of 74.

Ron was a proud graduate of Queen’s Medicine (1965), and completed his internship, residency and fellowship training in respiratory medicine both at KGH and at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. In 1971, Ron returned to work at Queen’s and KGH, where he founded the division of respirology alongside his colleague and dear friend, Dr. Peter Munt.

Ron served many roles at Queen’s from Director of the Residency Training Program, to Service Chief to Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education. Ron’s leadership also extended to the provincial and national stage; he served as president of the Ontario Thoracic Society and served on the Board of the Canadian Thoracic Society. He was a key figure in the early days of critical care in Ontario, serving as a Founding Member and Chairman of Ontario Critical Care Program.

Ron was a highly skilled clinician who was admired for his talent and ability, but what we will remember most is his incredible sense of humour. This jovial nature was part of what made him an outstanding – and memorable – teacher. He approached every interaction with a joke or something humourous to say, and found great pleasure in making others smile.

Ron will also be remembered for his outstanding mentorship. He imbued confidence in others, and his trainees and mentees always knew that he had their backs. Along with his late wife Barbara, Ron welcomed hundreds of students in to his home and put a tremendous amount of energy into building strong personal relationships with his trainees.

 

Late in his career, Ron was honoured with the establishment of a School of Medicine award in his name. The award was created in recognition of his role as an outstanding mentor, and the professional values he epitomized throughout his career. The purpose of the award, as written in the Terms of Reference, characterizes the wonderful person that he was:

“Dr. Wigle was committed to promoting the success of others to the ultimate benefit of the medical community at large. Throughout his exemplary career at Queen’s University, numerous faculty, undergraduate and graduate students flourished through his wise guidance and encouraging leadership. This award, named in his honor, will help to perpetuate these important virtues by recognizing those who embody them.”

We were fortunate to have such an incredible person here in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Ron will be deeply missed.

Please share your stories about Ron by commenting on the blog, or better yet, drop by the Macklem House…my door is always open.

Thank you to Dr. Leslie Flynn, Dr. Stephen Archer and Jen Valberg for their help in preparing this blog.

Dr. Ron Wigle’s obituary can be found here: http://yourlifemoments.ca/sitepages/obituary.asp?oid=977194

Andrew Craig

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:01

I met Ron after the passing of his wife Barbara when he made a generous donation of her fibre “stash” to the Kingston Handloom Weaver and Spinners Guild (my wife was Pres at the time). It was very clear in meeting him how much he enjoyed teaching, research, and diverse interests out on the farm. I am glad that generations of QU Meds students will know of his contributions through this mentorship award.

Andrew Craig

Jim Wilson

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

Ron was our honorary class president (Meds ’77), and threw a magnificent (and memorable) graduation party for us on his farm after our MCC exams. He and Barb faithfully attended every reunion and clearly reveled in getting reacquainted with our class every 5 years. Earlier this summer when we heard that he was not well, and might not make it to next year’s 40th anniversary reunion, many classmates contributed to a collection of anecdotes and personal wishes which was presented to him. Ron was quite touched and at the time felt well enough to say that he was looking forward to next year. On a personal note, not only did I benefit from his clinical teaching on Respirology and ICU rotations, I followed Ron as Postgrad Dean in 1995, where he demonstrated true mentorship – there to assist, guide and advise if needed but hands off otherwise. He was a role model for us all. He will be missed.

Jim Wilson

John Fisher

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

Ron was truly one of the outstanding individuals of our Faculty, who always led by example, with humour, intellect and compassion. His humorous comments in lecture were always delivered with an absolutely straight face, including the statement that the heart was a vestigial organ that had evolved to keep the lungs from rubbing together. You could watch the pause followed by the chuckle, slowly settle on first year students who were poised on his every word. He will be missed.

John Fisher

john rudan

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

Ron was a delightful man! He was a brilliant clinician and a wonderful role model for students and residents alike. When I was a young surgical resident I of course knew about Ron but I was fortunate enough to get to know him as a person. Although he was an attending and I just a junior resident we would often eat lunch together in the old cafeteria on Douglas 2. He loved trivia and telling stories and I loved trivia and listening to stories so it worked. Later on when I returned to Queen’s on staff we continued to talk although not as often as I would have liked. I will miss Ron. My thoughts are with his family. We are all the better for having in our lives.

john rudan

Hugh Pross

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

Diane and I both worked with Ron over the years, Diane in the clinic and I when I was Associate Dean Undergrad and Ron was Associate Dean Postgrad. We valued his skill and his wisdom, but it was the sense of humour that others have alluded to that made him such a pleasure to work with.It takes skill to make meetings with the Dean an enjoyable event! After we retired we would often meet up again with Ron at various faculty functions. On our way to these events one of us would always say “I hope Ron will be there.” Now he won’t be there, and we will miss him greatly.

Hugh Pross

Bill Moore Meds ''62

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

Richard, thank you for sharing so much about Dr. Ron Wigle. The overwhelming reason I came to Queen’s School of Medicine was the expectation of career-guiding mentoring, and I got it, as my father did in Meds ’28. I am confident that Queen’s traditions will continue as all Faculty seek to improve teaching methods and inspire their students.

I, too, salute and mourn the passing of such an accomplished leader of Queen’s and Canadian Medicine. Faculty members or those who will be recruited have a high bar to reach or exceed Dr. Wigle’s impact on current/future Medical students.

Sorry I didn’t know Ron but hope that many of those who did and others will appreciate his influence pointing/guiding them to successful careers. Not to make light of it, as in sports, someone needs to/will step up and stand out going forward to preserve and enhance Queen’s Medical legacy/ever-continuing aspirations.

Bill Moore, Meds ’62…

Bill Moore Meds ''62

D.H.Braden M.D. FRCPC

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:02

I had several contacts with Ron over the years.First when he was a Medical student, later when he was on Staff.Perhaps the most memorable was an August night in 1998. I had undergone a triple bypass and was in the ICU.Ron remained there overnight,unknown to me but to the great comfort of my family. who were aware that he was present.Wnen I was alert and able to extend my thanks Ron laughingly suggested that he had stayed around for a multitude of unrelated reasons.I continue to regard it as a hallmark of his level of care and consideration for his patients.

D.H.Braden M.D. FRCPC

Wayne Rosen

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

Although I have not seen him in close to 20 years, Ron Wigle made a deep impression on me as a medical student and resident in the early 90’s. What influenced me most about him was his ability to communicate with patients. I don’t think I have ever met anyone, before or since, who could connect so sincerely with patients and their families. There was an honesty and authenticity in the way he interacted with patients that they invariably listened and trusted him. Observing him engage with patients and families was an inspiring and edifying experience. And made me a much better physician

Wayne Rosen

Dr. Jim Lugsdin

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

Dear Dean Dr. Reznick:

Thank you for this very warm remembrance of Ron.

Dr. Ron has been our Meds ’65 class president since graduation. All your and your colleagues kind words and picture of the character of Ron have been echoed by our class. It would take many paragraphs to describe the class thoughts we have shared since learning of his passing last week. On how highly respected and liked he has been. He has spearheaded in great fashion our reunions. As well he has been the leader in building the Med’s 65 Bursary. He will be greatly missed as a team builder and the glue keeping our class of Meds ’65 alive to each other. As one class member put it “, Ron, played a central role in getting us all together. In his modest way, I suspect Ron did not fully appreciate the impact that he had.”

Sincerely,

Dr. Jim Lugsdin
Vice President
Med’s 65

Dr. Jim Lugsdin

Wendy Johnston

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

I benefited from Ron Wigle’s calm and supportive mentorship when I was on my ICU rotation as an R2 in Internal Medicine. He talked me through my first central line placement, nasal tracheal tube placement and much more. He was special an I cherish the time I spent with him. I am sorry that he is gone so soon.

Wendy Johnston

Donald Koval

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

I was a clerk on Ron’s respirology service in the mid 1980’s, and well remember his wonderful sense of humour and how he enjoyed the love and respect of his patients, which went both ways. He was an excellent teacher, and seemed to care about everyone. Just last month, Ron attended the visitation when my father Andy Koval passed, and it was great to see him and catch up a bit. I’m very sorry he is gone.

Donald Koval, MD
Meds 85

Donald Koval

Harry Hong

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

Ron will be sorely missed. Having been a fellow in the respirology program I was fortunate to experience his keen sense of humour, intellect and empathy which truly enriched both colleagues and patients’ lives. Truly a remarkable man, memorable for all of his worldly wisdom and a simple chuckle over a beer (Labatt’s 50) at the end of the day.

Harry Hong

Jo Mather

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:03

I was a physio working in ICU in the late ’70s, and was always impressed by Dr Wigle’s ability to treat everyone with the same level of respect, whoever they may be – and who could forget him doing rounds in ICU in a white coat – and galoshes…..

Jo Mather

Lori Coman-Wood meds87

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:04

I remember Dr Wigle as a kind, funny and generous hearted teacher. My condolences to all his family and friends.

Lori Coman-Wood meds87

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