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The author reflects on sixty-seven years of friendship spanning the world with his childhood friend.

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The personal and professional life of Dr. Martin Brotman were marked by unlimited loyalty and devotion to those people and causes he cherished.

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Dr. Martin Brotman passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 20th at the age of 81. Martin’s passing has profoundly affected his many admirers, family, friends and colleagues all over the world.

Personally, I have been a friend of Martin’s for 67 years, since our high school years in Winnipeg.  Even though I moved to Israel and Martin to San Francisco many years ago we have maintained our friendship over the years, anchored by our mutual devotion to Israel, Judaism and our Winnipeg heritage – as evidenced by Martin’s and Farron’s last visit with myself and Orly in Jerusalem in July 2019, pictured in this column.

We also just recently celebrated Martin and Farron’s 80th birthday in San Francisco. Martin and Farron also honoured me by attending my 75th birthday in Jerusalem in 2013.  

Martin was a Mensch and Tsadik. His personal and professional life were marked by unlimited loyalty and devotion to those people and causes he cherished. He cared deeply for his family and his love for his wife Farron (nee Stern), whom he started dating at age 14, and for his children and grandchildren was boundless. This love expressed itself recently in the virtual shiva held for Martin in which his family described him as the pillar of strength that held the family together and noted his exceptional love and caring for each and every one of them.  

Personally, I still remember the time in the late 1970’s when I was a Fulbright scholar at the University of California Medical School as a clinical psychologist and we lived in Tiburon California Martin and Farron adopted me and my young family wholeheartedly and served as our surrogate family in California. They even brought us a cat to make us feel at home since they knew we had left our cat Mitzi behind in Israel and that he was sorely missed by all of us.  I also fondly remember our annual ski trips with many of our Winnipeg born friends – Team Kelekis  – in resorts such as Aspen where Martin was a central focus of hosting and leadership and instrumental in bringing together a large cohort of old Winnipeg friends.

Martin’s contribution professionally and to the community at large was immense.  He started pre-medical studies at the University of Manitoba at the ripe age of 15 and received several academic awards during his studies receiving nine of 14 class medals, receiving BSc (Medicine) and MD (Honours) degrees and was the top prize winner of his 1962 graduating class in medicine. In addition, he received the Edward John Noble Foundation Award for leadership at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in 1967.

He was also the recipient of the Julius Friedenwald Medal in 2008, the highest honour in American gastroenterology and a lifetime achievement award for his more than 40 years of practicing medicine. Martin was also president of the American Gastroenterology Association.

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A distinguished alumnus of the University of Manitoba, Martin has been an exemplary advocate for medical research and progress and displayed outstanding leadership in fundraising for health centers and associations across North America. 

Some highlights of his leadership were recounted in his newspaper obituary: “In 1986, Dr. Brotman led the development of the Pan Med Medical Office Building at 2100 Webster Street attracting top physicians in San Francisco due to its close access to Pacific Presbyterian Hospital (later known as California Pacific Medical Center). While still maintaining a full medical practice, he was involved in or chaired every important committee task force of the hospital, including Chief of Gastroenterology and Chairman of the Department of Medicine.

“In 1995, with CPMC in serious financial difficulty and experiencing low morale, Martin was appointed President and CEO. Within a few years Martin’s strong management and leadership skills revitalized the institution, and CPMC became the bellwether of the Sutter chain. Not long after, Martin became the first CEO of Sutter’s West Bay Region then comprising eight hospitals and two multispecialty medical groups.

“Later, Martin became Sutter Health’s first Senior Vice President for Education, Research and Philanthropy and was the driving force behind the creation of Sutter’s new 1,000,000 sq. ft. Van Ness Campus hospital and adjacent Medical building, both of which opened in 2019. Deeply involved in health care on a national level, in 2002, Martin was elected President of the American Gastroenterology Association, (AGA).”

From Winnipeg to San Francisco and Jerusalem and beyond, the legacy and memory of Dr. Martin Brotman (centre) will live on in his philanthropic and professional contributions, as well as his wonderful family and lifelong friends such as Solly Dreman (right).

Ernest Rady, a prominent businessman from Winnipeg now living in San Diego and Martin were friends for 70 years. When Ernest received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Brotman attended and read the citation introducing Dr. Rady at the convocation.

When Martin passed away Ernest expressed his heartfelt loss and sentiments as follows: “Martin’s passing is a tremendous loss for me, my family, his family and the many people I ‘ve seen him impact, inspire and care for during the seven decades we were blessed to be friends. “He was a great human being, the best friend anyone could hope to have in this life I will miss him profoundly.”

Martin will be sorely missed by all those who knew and were impacted by him. He is survived by his dedicated and loving wife of 60 years, Farron; Father of Ilana (Neal) Tandowsky, the late Stuart (Elizabeth) Brotman, Brenley (Kevin) Morris; and grandfather of Blake, Olivia and Meredith Tandowsky; Abigail Brotman; and Ashley and Joshua Morris.

May his memory be a blessing. יהי  זכרו  ברוך                                 

Solly Dreman is Professor Emeritus in Ben Gurion University of the Negev’s Department of Psychology. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco in 1977-78.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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