Renowned Ottawa heart surgeon Dr. Keon dies

OTTAWA – The first person to perform a heart transplant in Ottawa has passed away.

Dr. Wilbert Keon, also a former Canadian senator, was 83 years old when he died peacefully and surrounded by family on Sunday (April 7), according to the heart institute he helped create.

Dr. Keon founded the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 1976 and was an innovator in the field for 30 years until retiring in 2004.  The institute is Canada’s largest cardiovascular health centre.

Keon’s story began in the Pontiac. He was born in Sheenboro, and has a school named after him in Chapeau. He attended both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

Keon leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Anne Keon, as well as their daughter Claudia and her husband Mark Field, who live in England with their four children; their son Neil and his wife Debbie Loeb, who live in Dallas with their two children; and their son Ryan and his wife Cindy Tomlinson, who live in Ottawa with their two children.