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William Howard Feindel was born in 1918, in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He married Dorothy Faith Roswell Lyman in 1945. They had six children: Christopher Michael, Alexander, Patricia Ann, Janet, George Michael and Anna Muriel. William Feindel got his high school degree from at Bridgewater High School in 1936. He also received his B.A. in Nova Scotia, at Dalhousie University in 1939. The same year he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship and attended Merton College in Oxford, England, where he studied physiology. In 1942, he completed his M. Sc. in physiology at Dalhousie University. In 1945, he graduated as M.D. at McGill University. In 1949, he completed a Ph.D. in neuroanatomy at Oxford University. Afterwards, he studied neurosurgery at Oxford and London.
Dr. Feindel was appointed to the neurosurgical staff of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) in 1953. In 1955, he opened the department of Neurosurgery in the newly completed University Hospital at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Feindel returned to the MNI in 1959 as professor of neurosurgery. In 1962, he became neurosurgeon-in-chief of the MNI and was appointed neurologist and neurosurgeon-in-chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH). Dr. Feindel also held several administrative positions. From 1972 to 1984, he was director of the MNI and the Montreal Neurological Hospital and director of professional services at the MNH. In 1976, he was named consultant in the neurosciences for the World Health Organization. From 1979 to 1984, he was chairman of the MNI advisory board. In 1984, Dr. Feindel became director of the Brain Imaging Centre at MNI. In 1986, he was senior consultant on neurosurgery at MNH, RVH and the Montreal General Hospital. The same year, he was appointed director of the Neuro-history project at McGill University. Finally, from 1991 to 1996, Dr. Feindel was Chancellor of Acadia University.
Dr Feindel’s main interest in research centered around the causes and surgical treatment of focal epilepsy, the early detection of brain tumors and stroke, and the circulation of the brain. He was also coordinator of the Positron Emission Tomography research program at MNI from 1975 to 1984. Dr. Feindel published over 400 articles and was a guest lecturer or visiting professor at many universities in Canada and abroad.
Dr Feindel held several offices in different medical societies: president of the Montreal Neurological society (1962-63); president of the Association des neurochirurgiens de la Province de Québec (1964-65); president of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society (1968-70); president of the executive committee of the Council of Physicians and dentists at MNH (1973-75); president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons (1976); vice-president, American Neurological Association (1976-77); vice-president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons (1977-78).
In 1982, Dr. Feindel was appointed Officer to the Order of Canada. In 2002, he was granted the title of Grand Officer of the Order of Quebec. He died in Montreal, 12 January 2014.