Harold M. M. Tovell, M.D.

Harold M. M. Tovell

1919-2001
AAOG: 76, AGOS: 81

Harold Tovell was born in Toronto, Canada to a prominent family which manufactured Massey farm equipment. His cousin, Raymond Massey became a famous actor. Harold received his medical degree at the University of Toronto and interned at the Toronto General Hospital in 1946. He then became a captain in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Following his tour of duty he took a year as a fellow in anatomy and another year as a fellow in Pathology at the University of Toronto. He then moved to New York in 1949 to become one of Howard Taylor's first residents in Obstetrics Gynecology at the Sloane Hospital for Women completing the five year program in 1954. He remained on the Columbia staff and was, for a brief period, the pathologist at the Sloane Hospital.

In 1963 Harold was appointed Director of the newly reconstructed Women's Hospital which had just merged with St. Luke's Hospital in New York. He became Clinical Professor of Obstetrics Gynecology at Columbia University. He created the Divisions of Reproductive Medicine, and Oncology, and reorganized the residency program. He recruited Dr. Lajos von Micsky who opened the first ultrasound unit in New York.

Harold's academic interests were in Oncology, Pathology, and Vulvar Disease. He established a Vulvar Clinic at Women's Hospital with Dr. Alexander Young, Director of Dermatology, which became a referral center in the New York area.

Harold retired as Director of Women's Hospital in 1974 and closed his practice in 1985. He and his wife Bette bought a home in Florida. Of three sons, two died as young men and Harold and Bette endured these tragedies with great fortitude. Bette died about ten years ago and Harold continued to live quietly in Florida where he passed away on May 19, 2001. He will be remembered as a kind gentleman with a distinctly Canadian demeanor by his colleagues, patients and students.

Submitted by Robert S. Neuwirth, M.D.

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