Dr. Howard Judson Rees was born on the 19th of October, 1925 at the Toronto Public General Hospital. He attended Weston Public School and Weston Collegiate Institute for elementary and secondary school. As a teenager, Dr. Rees worked at the Weston Golf and Curling Club as both a caddy and a groundskeeper.
Dr. Rees graduated from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1951. In 1952 he completed an internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto. That same year, he began his medical career as a general practitioner in Palmerston, Ontario, where he joined the practice of Dr. John Riddell.
Dr. Rees moved to Chatham-Kent when he learned, through a travelling drug representative, that the Blenheim practice of Dr. John Watson Pickering was for sale. Dr. Rees purchased the practice, located at 7 Chatham Street S., and he moved to Blenheim in 1956. His mother Marjorie Rees, also moved to Blenheim to be his office nurse. She had graduated from the Toronto General Hospital School for Nurses in 1919. Dr. Rees continued to serve the Blenheim area as a family physician for forty years, until his retirement on March 12, 1996.
Dr. Rees’ vision of supporting his community was realized by the creation of the Howard J. Rees Foundation in 1987. The foundation was established to support the arts, health and education in the Blenheim area. Since its inception, the foundation has provided academic scholarships, assisted in the expansion of the Gable Rees Rotary Pool in Blenheim, and made it possible for school-aged children to receive swimming lessons.
In 1994, Dr. Rees was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Rees was also recognized with the Glen Sawyer Service Award for his many years of dedication to the community and his profession in 2002.
In 2008, through the support of the Howard J. Rees Foundation, the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute Website was created (www.ckphysiciantribute.ca). The goal of the website is to provide recognition of the many dedicated physicians who have served within Chatham-Kent.
In his spare time, Dr. Rees enjoyed gardening, stamp collecting and travelling with his companion Joan Boyes.
Dr. Rees died on the 9th of February, 2010. He was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Blenheim.
*Dr. John Watson Pickering is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.