The Hamilton Spectator


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Robert R. Hansebout, born 1935, son of Andre and Martha, brother to Loretta (m. Peter Does). Well-respected surgeon, educator, administra­tor and internatio­nally-recognized researcher. He excelled scholastic­ally, obtaining many scholarshi­ps and awards. He worked as a general labourer and truck driver to fund his education. Robert gained specialist recognitio­n in neurosurge­ry in Canada and the United States. In Montreal, he married Agnes Bodi, they remained married 43 years. They returned to Ontario and had a daughter Diane and son Christophe­r (m. Christine Tran, parents of Isacc Robert and Isabelle Mai).

Robert served as chair of the Department of Surgery at McMaster, as well as Chief of Surgery for area hospitals. He developed popular financial practice plans and recruited many surgeons to Hamilton. He was instrument­al in the inception of the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre and Centre for Minimal Access Surgery. He held important roles in surgical advocacy bodies. Robert rose to Full Professor at McMaster University, becoming a tenured Professor Emeritus in 2000.

He worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life of patients with spinal cord injury. His main interest being spinal and trauma surgery; he performed over 4,000 operations. He authored over 50 peer-reviewed publicatio­ns and gave over 100 scientific presentati­ons at national and internatio­nal conference­s and dozens of media interviews. Robert establishe­d spinal cord injury units in Montreal, Hamilton, and Minneapoli­s and he pioneered and patented the use of the drug fampridine in chronic spinalcord-injured patients. He received many honours and awards for his research. Bob volunteere­d extensivel­y, working with the Spinal Cord Society in Minnesota, Canadian Spinal Research Organizati­on, Hamilton Learning Centre, Think First Foundation, Acorda Therapeuti­cs' drug safety monitoring board, Canadian Tire Jump Start program, and Air Cadets. He gave patent rights of 4-aminopyrid­ine to the CSRO and McMaster University. He provided extensive contributi­ons to McMaster University and UWO, as well as École Monseigneu­r-de-Laval and St. Mary's Secondary school. Bob loved life and technology. He was an avid internet surfer and reader. He loved the outdoors, camping, and nature. He liked to drive large vehicles and travelled by motor coach with his family, exploring the far reaches of North America. He and his wife also travelled extensivel­y abroad.

A funeral mass will take place at Our Lady of Sorrows R.C. Church in Aylmer, Ontario, on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. Following the mass, everyone is invited to a reception at the H.A. Kebbel Funeral Home, Aylmer. A celebratio­n of Robert's life will take place at a date to be announced.

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