Dr. Harvey Stancer

Date of Birth

March 6, 1926

Date of Death

September 16, 2021

Dr. Harvey Stancer was born in Toronto, on March 6, 1926, where he and his sister Mildred were raised by their father, Louis, and mother, Pearl (née Onrot). His family lived on the Danforth in the east end of Toronto, and he graduated from Jarvis Collegiate. Diligent and bright, he spent his early-20’s supporting his mother’s movie theatre part-time while completing a PhD in biochemistry. Next, a medical degree at the University of Toronto; he chose psychiatry because he “couldn’t stand the sight of blood.” As a research assistant at the Banting and Best Medical Research Institute, Dr. Stancer charmed a quick-witted chemist-then-dentist, Dr. Magda Winter, whom he married in 1958. The couple’s collective curiosities extended well-beyond the sciences: they kept their hungry minds busy with travel and art and, through a combination of work and adventure, found themselves enthralled by living in faraway places such as New York City and London, England. With the couple’s nest newly adorned with photos of remote places, Dr. Harvey Stancer returned to Canada in 1962 to work at the Toronto Psychiatric hospital where he took a major role in the planning the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry’s Research Wing; there and at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (now “CAMH”), he proudly committed his brilliance to psychiatric research science. His lasting contributions (that have been described as seminal) have since been commemorated by the University’s establishment of the annual Harvey Stancer Research Day. At the dusk of his illuminating career, Dr. Stancer relocated from Toronto to Santa Barbara, California to be nearer to family. There, he continued to give to those around him. He delved into his passions for filmmaking (leaving behind a trove of entertaining family films), golfing, and, perhaps most- importantly, being a constant force of support and love to his three grandchildren. Dr. Harvey Stancer was preceded in death by Magda in 2017. He will be remembered respectfully by all those who experienced his boldness and zeal for life: colleagues, patients, students, mentees, friends, and family. Father to Claire and Karen. Father-in-law to David Piltch and Peter Hannan. Uncle to Louise Urbas. Companion to Bea Hamlin. “Pata” to his grandchildren (Rachel, Poppy, and Oliver) and great granddaughter, Léna. He passed peacefully on September 16th, surrounded by family. The family wishes to express their gratitude to Claudia Brisceno, and the rest of the Sarah House team, for all of the loving care and compassion they provided.


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