Remembering a beloved colleague, Dr. Jack Tu
The ICES community is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dr. Jack Tu on May 30, 2018. He led the cardiac program at ICES from its beginning, and it became enormously successful under his leadership. Jack was an internationally renowned researcher, an outstanding leader, mentor and colleague at ICES, and a friend to many within the organization.
Impact as a physician, scientist and educator
Jack was an outstanding doctor and scientist, achieving at a young age the kind of international renown that most researchers strive to accomplish in a lifetime. His hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, high-profile media coverage and numerous awards attest to his prolific and meaningful contributions to better health. He had an immense impact on our understanding of cardiac disease, stroke and health services, and there is no doubt his research and the changes he brought about in health care saved lives in Ontario, across Canada and beyond.
Jack’s impact at ICES went far beyond his own research. Jack was a gifted teacher and mentor to a generation of young scientists, students and staff members, many of whom have themselves gone on to tremendous success. Those who worked with Jack at ICES got to see up close the qualities that made him an effective mentor and teacher. Jack’s reputation attracted amazing staff who grew both professionally and personally under his guidance and example. Jack’s legacy is secure as a result of those he mentored and influenced.
An exemplar of ICES values
Jack had a truly engaging presence at ICES. He was almost always in his office with his door open, ready to be interrupted if need be. He would walk the halls to visit staff and other scientists in their offices, and spend hours discussing projects, peering over their shoulders at output on their computer monitors, solving problems, offering advice, or just talking. He often proudly spoke about his son’s latest achievements, or would listen as his colleagues talked about their own lives, children and challenges. In addition to his incredible intelligence and dedication Jack was kind, humble, soft-spoken, and gentle. This engendered the most remarkable devotion and loyalty to Jack. Jack was admired and loved by all who had the privilege to know him.
A lasting personal and professional legacy
Jack’s inspiring presence persists: though they are grief-stricken by the news of his death, Jack’s staff have rallied and are taking up his important work. ICES is supporting Jack’s team and colleagues to ensure that his studies and projects continue.
On a personal level, I had the utmost respect for Jack and I admired him deeply. Despite being immensely successful as a researcher at ICES, he never openly advocated for his own interests in the organization. He was a trusted and valued team-player, always answering the call. In meetings, Jack would sit back and let others speak first, and, when he finally did offer his opinion, we were all keen to hear what he had to say.
I feel very fortunate to have had Jack as a colleague, and all of us at ICES are better for having known him. He was, simply, a good man, and he will be sorely missed.
Michael Schull, MD, MSc, FRCPC