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David Andrew GASS
1945 - 2021
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DAVID ANDREW GASS On Friday, March 19, 2021, David Andrew Gass died in Halifax, Nova Scotia from injuries sustained by a pedestrian-vehicle accident. David's large family loved him dearly. Partner in life and heart to Cathy Cervin, cherished father to Heather Gass (Lisa Lachance), Susan Gass (Craig Brown) and Ian Gass, loving and dependable grandfather to Jason and Keira-Jill Gass-Lachance, Jessica and Gemma Brown, role model and stepfather to Zander and Tom Brosky. He is predeceased by his parents (George and Alice Gass) and also survived by his brother Charles Gass (Carol), his niece Gillian, nephew Donald, his sister Anne Wadleigh (James) and his nephews Benjamin and Timothy. David touched all who knew him and transformed the lives of the countless people he mentored and taught. David was born April 29, 1945, in London Ontario to George and Alice (Bell) Gass. He married Louise Gass (Moore) in London Ontario in 1970 and they raised their children in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He graduated from Mount Allison University in 1967, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1969, and graduated from Dalhousie Medical School in 1973. Family Medicine was the bedrock of David's long, impactful, professional career. He was dedicated to the worth and value of compassionate, patient and relationship centred care. An avid reader and original thinker, he embraced narrative medicine, the deep understanding of the person with their unique story, beliefs and values, as the path to healing in the day to day work of family doctors. 'The universe is made not of atoms, but of stories.' He began practice in Fredericton, NB, in 1973, and joined the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University in 1978 as a leader in continuing medical education, and care of the elderly. Although he held many other posts, he kept his Dalhousie faculty appointment the rest of his life. As Professor and Head of Dalhousie Family Medicine from 1987 - 1995, he led and taught through understanding and gentle challenge - his motto 'When we tell a person something, we remove their chance to discover it themselves'. He asked astute questions, encouraged and supported people to discover their own answers. Kind, humble and patient, he delighted in the achievements of those he mentored. A timeless sense of duty, instilled by his parents, shaped his approach to life and work. David was always ready to lend a hand and most happy when he felt he was contributing. His commitment to making a difference moved him to lead many influential committees at the College of Family Physicians of Canada, take on the role of hospital chief of staff in Cumberland County, lead primary care reform and create a health human resource plan for Nova Scotia. When Dalhousie Family Medicine needed him, he came back from retirement to be Interim Head from 2017 - 2020. David embraced life fully, traveling widely with his partner Cathy Cervin - their favorite place is Gros Morne in Newfoundland. But David belonged in the Maritimes and when Heather and Sue moved back to Halifax to raise their children, his life was complete. He loved being Grandad and with Cathy (Gran) they hosted family Sunday suppers at their Halifax home. Children, stepchildren, partners, and grandchildren gathered weekly at a table of conversation, one-pot meals, David's signature salad and pie. A highlight of his week, the supper kept the family close and everyone felt the love in the meals he cooked. We are devastated by his sudden death, wondering how we will live long years without his warmth, humour and love in our lives. And we cherish the strength he has given us to be the best of ourselves and continue his work in the world. Thank you to Dave, Kendra, Katie, and all the other kind and caring nurses in the QEII ICU and Drs. Rasmussen, Thana and Carter for their skilled, empathetic care. 'For those who love with their heart and soul there is no separation' Rumi A private memorial celebration will be held Saturday, March 27 from 1 - 4 p.m. ADT. Please contact us at for the livestream link. In lieu of flowers please send memories and stories to

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Mar. 24 to Mar. 28, 2021.
Celebration of Life
01:00 - 04:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
June 22, 2021
What an incredible and tragic loss.
Shocked to learn the sad news through the article in CFP.
Most sincere condolences to the family.
Remember David from his kind encouragement during his exploratory visit to Winnipeg to enhance care of the elderly in the 80s and we always exchanged greetings and updates at the FMF. Will remember his smile and professionalism
Dr Pravinsagar G Mehta
April 1, 2021
David was an outstanding colleague when were both at Dalhousie University in the 1990s. Family Medicine did not have the gravitas that is now holds and David's gentle, thoughtful and caring manner was both effective and inspiring. Later working with you on occasion over the next decades on accreditation matters, Cathy, made me think about how special you were as a couple. I am so sorry for your loss.
Dr. Lynn McIntyre
March 28, 2021
I was so shocked to hear of David’s passing, he will be missed by his family, friends and co-workers. Although as adults our time together was limited and can’t help but cherish the times we had together in Sackville, Nana and Grandads home and the Cape. The memories of our times at the Cape setting up a carnival, paddling in the little boats and special times just walking and exploring all the wonderful treasures you would find on the sandbars. His was truly someone I looked up to. He will be missed by all who were blessed with knowing him.

Jim Gass
First Cousin
Jim Gass
March 28, 2021
28 March,
I was saddened to hear of David's unexpected tragic death and send my deepest sympathy to the family. Our careers intersected many times over the years and it was always a privilege to work with him and benefit from his reflective keen mind, his quiet demeanor and the respectful way in which he behaved. Such a great loss.
Jim Hickey, MD
Dr James Hickey
March 26, 2021
Dearest Dr .Cathy Cervin & Family may God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Dr. Cervin you delivered my youngest son Adam when you took over from Dr Crombie at Dalhousie Family Medicine1986 .We remember you and your family so often with much love and thankfulness. My son Adam was hit twice near our home in six months in the same crosswalk ,by hit and run drivers .It was a shock to hear of David's passing. We will be with you all tomorrow in prayer and love. A mass will be offered in memory of David on May 8,2021 at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish 530pm. Blessings and heartfelt sympathy Heidi & Family
Heidi (Reinbold) MacKay
March 25, 2021
We all grew up in eachothers backyard in Sackville.
Terribly sorry for your loss
Fred Crawford
March 24, 2021
My sincere sympathies to Cathy and to all of David's family.
Over the years, David and I worked together on many committees and activities of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Whenever he was involved, we could rest easy -- knowing that he would guide us on the best course.
He was such a warm, thoughtful, and gentle man – always ready to smile and laugh. He will be very much missed.
Jacqueline Wakefield
March 24, 2021
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Mark Taylor
March 24, 2021
Dave was the older brother I never had. As children he was a favorite playmate, as teens he was a protector and friend that I looked up to and as an adult he has always been a solid and wise, generous and giving force in my life. Over the years we've gotten wrapped up in our own families and concerns but whenever we've met, it's been with the same love and joy at meeting again. I will miss never having the feeling that I can always call Dave if I need his help or advice- that he isn't with us to get a big hug from or hear his quirky laugh or see his form appearing with its long loping stride. I have so many "snapshots" of moments of Dave. My memories of so many times together will hopefully stay with me always. And those memories will sustain all of us who mourn his loss. He was something unique to each of us but to everyone he was so loved.
Sue ( Gass) Morse, first cousin
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