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GRINSTEIN, Dr. Maxwell

July 2, 1913 – February 2, 2013

Dr. Maxwell (Max) Grinstein, beloved husband of Burdene, passed away peacefully on February 2, 2013 at the age of 99. He was predeceased by his first wife Jekka in 1970.

Max was born in Montreal on July 2, 1913, to Hyman and Eta. He was the youngest of their six children. He graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston with a Bachelor of Arts degree but with a keen interest in medicine and determination he set forth to London, England. Despite the struggles of the depression and World War II, he attended the Middlesex Hospital Medical School and graduated with a degree in Medicine in 1947. He interned at St. Giles Hospital in London, England and then worked in general practice there from 1948 to 1953.

He returned to Canada in 1953 and set up his general practice office in Calgary. He was appointed to the medical staff of the Calgary General, Holy Cross and Salvation Army Grace Hospitals (with a term as president of the medical staff and head of family practice at the Grace), the Rockyview General Hospital, Peter Lougheed Centre and the Colonel Belcher Hospital. In addition, he served on the medical staff of the Cross Bow, Sarcee, Glenmore Park and the Dr. Vernon Fanning Auxiliary Hospitals, the George Boyack Nursing Home and the Bethany Care Centre (with a term as president of the medical staff and chief of staff at the Bethany). In 1989 he closed his family practice office and devoted the remainder of his medical career to working as a surgical assistant in the operating rooms of the various local hospitals.

He was granted life membership by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province of Alberta and by the Canadian Medical Protective Association. Max felt fortunate to have had a professional career that he truly loved and devoted himself to his patients. He was an esteemed colleague and friend to many of his peers.

Max had a sharp wit, great sense of humor and an ability to entertain with stories of his past. He was an accomplished musician and read medical journals and books with zest. He was an avid reader of the Calgary Herald and sent many letters to the editor, first under the name “Felix” Grinstein and later under his own name. In later years, nothing pleased him more than to pick up the paper and see his letter in print!

Max, anticipating his parting, recently wrote: “I am most grateful to the health professionals and to my good friends who were always so helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And remember to keep well”.

At Max’s request, there will be no service, memorial donations or flowers please.

A private tribute was held in his honor. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Dr. Maxwell Grinstein, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Joan Hrncirik :

    Max was surely one of a kind and remembered fondly by O.R. staff at the Grace. Thanks for the great stories Max.

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  2. Chris Rotheisler :

    Dr. Grinstein was my first doctor. I have vivid memories of his office on Kensington. I always thought him to be the best diagnostican ever! I adored his dry wit and admired his huge patient load. I an sorry for your loss but please know there are many of us whom have good memories of him.

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  3. Kathy Osadchuk :

    Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of one of the best doctors I’ve ever come across! Dr. Grinstein was my first family doctor and he helped our family so very well and with such effectiveness. I’ve come across a couple of doctors since that trained under him and like him they possess a truly caring attitude and drive to help their patients. He also understood the meaning of “humor is sometimes the best medicine”! He will be missed and I’ll think of him fondly always.

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  4. Frankie and Larry Rushford :

    Burdene, so very sorry to read of Max’s passing. Our deepest sympathy.
    Sincerely Larry & Frankie Rushford

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  5. William Grisdale :

    Mrs. Grinstein, I was saddened to hear of Max’s death. I first meet Max in 1963 when I came to intern at the CGH. I had the privelege of being Max’s doctor as well as considering him one of the best doctor colleges one could have I will miss seeing him at funerals. our group from CGH is getting smaller.
    Bill Grisdale

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  6. Dear Burdene,
    I met you en passant while Max was driving around the neighborhood years ago.
    As a medical student decades ago, I was assigned to Max’s office on Kensington Road for my Family Medicine experience. What an experience that was: Max was a one-man show; with no staff, he knew all his patients by name, and pulled their charts from the cabinet behind him as they triaged themselves, letting the kids or those more urgent precede them. In the days before the diptick, if they needed a urinalysis, he did the protein estimation with acetic acid and cooked it up with a Bunsen burner. As you know, he kept his pharmaceutical samples tossed together in huge apothecary jars. Any druggie busting in would have poisoned themselves with the contents.
    His letters to the Herald were legion. Urban legend has it that when a bomb went off in the washroom of the House of Commons, Max wrote to the Ottawa Citizen or another paper stating that he regretted the only room in the House of Commons in which the members knew what they were doing had been destroyed!
    He was always warm and fun to work with. I asked him one day at PLC how he was; he responded with his wry grin: “Well, I woke up!”
    I shall miss him. May I express my deepest condolences to you.

    Graham Law

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  7. Russ Betteridge :

    Dr Grinstein was our family doctor in West Hillhurst (19th St) He stitched me up a few times from hockey related cuts, and was always so positive. My thoughts and prayers go out to Berdine, we were also so fond of you, and offer our deepest condolences.

    Russ Betteridge

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  8. Don and Joan Hudson :

    We treasure our memories of our canny, urine burning family doctor and his dry wit and kindness. It was always a delight to bump into him in later years at the Coop or Britannia. He leaves the world a greyer place. Our sympathy to Burdene.

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  9. I was very saddened to learn of Max’s passing, he was a long term, devoted friend to my father, another Max (only real gentleman must get that name). I saw him not too long ago and was impressed with his sharp mind and warm personality. My sincere condolences to you Burdene.
    Love and prayers, Mia Vogel

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