Know Your Neighbours – Dr. Heime Geffen

Photo Attribution: St. Catharines Museum, 2005.170.2

Dr. Heime Geffen was born in South Africa on August 3, 1930. He studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. On January 27, 1957 he married Ann Cohen. He built up a successful medical practice in Springs and treated everyone regardless of race or income. He was operating in South Africa at a time when apartheid rules were very strong. Because of his equal views, Geffen was threatened by the ruling apartheid authorities.

Geffen immigrated to Canada with his family in 1973. He settled in St. Catharines and continued practicing medicine. Here, he joined the Pelham Road Clinic as a general practitioner. He eventually rose to the position of Chief of Family medicine at the St. Catharines general Hospital and Hotel Dieu, Chief of Medical Staff for the Niagara health System and President of the Lincoln County Academy of Medicine. He created programs for terminally ill patients and victims of sexual assault.

Geffen was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, but went into a miraculous two-year remission due, to perhaps, a special honey. He died at 78 years old on October 27, 2008.


The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, located next to Lock 3 of the historic Welland Canal, is a leading local history museum and community gathering place, engaging visitors and building relationships with partners, while demonstrating curatorial leadership and innovative programming and exhibits. The St. Catharines Museum is dedicated to engaging visitors in the celebration of our local stories and the cultural identity and history of the City. We are a community resource that interprets, exhibits, researches, acquires, and preserves material culture and stories of St. Catharines.

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