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Date of Passing: Nov 13, 2019

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Dr. Paul Vincent Coldrey Adams died peacefully on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 of the complications of leukaemia just five months short of his 100th birthday, a milestone he had still hoped to reach until just a few weeks earlier.
He was a soldier in the Second World War, a country doctor, and later an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Winnipeg for more than three decades. He was a faithful member of the Catholic Church and a contributor to his community into his 10th decade.
To his family, he was a devoted son, a husband deeply in love with his wife Louise (neé Bernier) for more than 60 years, and a beloved patriarch to his seven children, 11 grandchildren, and as of the spring of this year, one great-grandchild.
He was a gentle and generous man with a dry wit. Though he was modest and self-effacing, he was nonetheless honoured by many of the organizations he belonged to or led. He was invested as a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by direction of Pope Francis in 2017.
Born in north London in 1920 to his young mother, Grace, he was transported a few months later to Winnipeg where his father, Edward, a veteran of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who fought in the trenches of France, had settled prior to the First World War. He grew up in St. James in humble circumstances, for a time in a home without indoor plumbing.
When he was 13, under the leadership of his mother, the entire family converted to Catholicism. He attended high school and university at St. Paul's College where he served as "Senior Stick" (student president) and was the founding editor of The Paulinian newspaper. After completing his B.A. in 1942, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. He served as a trainer of officers in Red Deer, Alberta for a time before being shipped out to England and later France as a member of the transport corps. He rose to the rank of captain and finished his army career in charge of logistics for the Canadian Army in Paris.
After the war, veterans' benefits allowed him to pursue a medical degree. In 1950, in the aftermath of the great Winnipeg flood, he married Louise and they had their first of seven children the next year. In 1952, he began practising medicine. In 1953, the family moved to Langdon, North Dakota where he had a general practice before returning to Winnipeg to pursue a specialty as an obstetrician and gynaecologist in 1959.
As the only Catholic obstetrician in Winnipeg in the 1960s, he was drawn into the debate on artificial birth control and reluctantly became a public figure because of his differences with Humanae Vitae. It was a measure of his devotion to the Catholic community that, with his wife Louise, he nonetheless established a series of organizations catering to women who wished to practice natural birth control. He was pro-life and was the founder of the Manitoba Physicians for Life. He believed that being pro-life imposed a positive responsibility to support women and helped Louise found Pregnancy Distress Service which continues to operate today as the Thrive Community Support Circle.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was chair of the St. Ignatius Refugee Committee which successfully sponsored more than 40 Vietnamese refugee families.
In 1978, he was elected president of the medical staff of St. Boniface Hospital, which was the center of his practice for much of his career. He continued to practise medicine into his mid-70s. He delivered countless babies in his career and long after he retired, he would often meet people who would tell him that he had attended at their births.
After his retirement, he worked as a hospice volunteer, wrote two volumes of memoirs for his family, and continued to be active in the community and the church. He was a prodigious reader and an enthusiastic daily walker until just a few weeks before his death.
He is survived by children, Marie (Gordon Stobart), Paul, Mark (Nancy), Christopher (Sue), David (Adelina) and Michael; grandchildren, J.P (Tara), Matthew (Hana Bryce), Oliver, Jennifer, Christopher, Theresa, Kevin, Alex, Sophia and Melissa; and great-granddaughter Ruby. Besides his wife, Louise, he was predeceased by daughter Frances Louise, grandson David, and daughter-in-law Suzanne Szukits.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Ignatius Church, 255 Stafford St., at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 23. There will be a viewing at the church from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Holy Names House of Peace,

Family and friends may sign a
book of condolence at

Desjardins Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 20, 2019

Condolences & Memories (12 entries)

  • I have just now found out about Paul's passing. So many memories of both Paul and Louise... Paul picking up Louise after she'd finished teaching at what was then Le College. Paul and Louise -- and, after Louise died, just Paul -- at McNally looking for the latest book to give their children and grandchildren at Christmas. Paul and Louise having a drink together in the living room before dinner, a most civilized and nightly routine. Classical music would be playing in the background as Louise especially would boast of the latest accomplishments of her children and grandchildren, but both of them would always have a good book to recommend: among their favourite heroes were the Jean Vaniers of this world. I have learned a lot from them both, they will always have a very special place in my heart and memory. - Posted by: Ruth Hodder (Friend) on: Feb 08, 2020

  • Dr. Paul V. Adams was my teacher and mentor when I joined the O&G residency program in 1971. He taught with is mild manner, rarely criticizing, rather offering constructive feed back and encouragement . An ethical man; he did not hesitate to defend a junior colleague when he saw injustice. Always a professional and a gentleman. He maintained decorum; even when coming to deliver a baby in the middle of night, he would have his tie on. I am glad to have worked with him. - Posted by: Dr.Meera Sinha & Dr. Sachchida Nand Sinha (I was his Obstetric and Gynaecology resident at the St. Boniface hospital in1971 and later in 1975 o) on: Nov 22, 2019

  • I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family and relatives of Dr. Adams. I have known the Adams since grade school in the seventies and spent a number of evenings gathered in the kitchen chatting with Chris & friends. It was a welcoming place to be and I remain grateful for that. "Death may end our life on this earth, but it does not end our story". Peace. - Posted by: Alan Grant (Friend of the family) on: Nov 22, 2019

  • What a remarkable man whose aspirations to be of service for the Greater Good of All is so impressively witnessed in his Life's journey. A journey of selfless tenderness, generosity and respect. I have known Michael since our teenage years and I have witnessed the profound and far reaching affects & effects of Dr. Adams's life, integrity, wisdom and compassion in my dear friend Michael's life and with many of the young Women I have worked with over the last 30 years who were treated with dignity and respect during very difficult times in their lives because of organizations Dr. Adams started or was involved with. In the end it is all about how well we love, how gently we live and how easily we can let go of things that are not meant for us. Thank you Dr. Adams for lighting a candle [many many candles], rather than curing the darkness. Peace, Love, Gratitude & Light for all, by all, always, all ways! - Posted by: Jennifer Parkinson (Friend to son Michael) on: Nov 22, 2019

  • My father was truly a saint on earth. (as was my mother Louise) I was born to a young woman out of wedlock in the mid sixties. My birth mother was only 17 at the time and was sent to Winnipeg from Quebec City by her father to have the baby. (her mother did not know she was pregnant with me ) my father Paul was the doctor whose care she was under and the attending doctor at my birth. When my birth mother explained the situation to my father Paul and expressed her concerns and emotions about what to do. Even though they had five children already, my father did not hesitate and offered to adopt me and my mother Louise agreed immediately. My upbringing and home life was exceptional and I will be forever in their debt and eternally grateful for the life they have provided me and the values they instilled in me. A better family I could not have asked for, I love you both with all my heart. May you forever Rest In Peace and go with God. Your son, Michael - Posted by: Michael Adams (Son ) on: Nov 21, 2019

  • I grew up in Langdon, North Dakota, and knew Dr. Paul Adams when he began his medical career in that small town just south of the Manitoba border. When I moved to Winnipeg in 1966 to teach history at the University of Manitoba, I was delighted to find that Adams and his wife were fellow parishioners in St. Ignatius Parish. In time we also interacted at St. Paul's College after his son Dr. Chris Adams became the Rector of College, a position I had also held a few years earlier. I always had the highest respect for Dr. Paul Adams and his contributions both as a medical doctor and a committed and involved Catholic. My most sincere sympathies to his family, friends, and admirers. - Posted by: Richard Lebrun (Friend) on: Nov 21, 2019

  • My sympathy goes out to the family at this sad time. I was a fellow student of his daughter Marie. Dr. Adams delivered all four of my children and was one of the most caring doctors I have ever met. I remember seeing him every Sunday with his wife at St Ignatius Mass. He was a true gentleman and was a blessing to me as my doctor. May he Rest In Peace. Marjorie Guertin - Posted by: Marjorie Guertin (Friend of family) on: Nov 21, 2019

  • Dr. Adams delivered my first baby and he was understanding and helped me at a time when I felt alone and frightened. He was so appreciated. My condolences to his family and May he Rest In Peace. - Posted by: Debra McCarthy (Former patient) on: Nov 20, 2019

  • Our sincere condolences to the Adams family. Dr. Adams and his wife Louise were friends to us for many years. Paul delivered all three of our children in the late 60s and mid 70s. He was always very thoughtful, kind and dedicated in his service as a gynaecologist. My husband and I worked with Dr. Adams and Louise while teaching the natural family planning method to other couples. We respected both of them as they were a couple with high standards and morals. He is going to be greatly missed. Our thoughts and our prayers are with Paul’s children, grandchildren and great-granddaughter. May he Rest In Peace! - Posted by: Gilbert & Lise Ruest (Friend and former patient) on: Nov 20, 2019

  • My deepest condolences to Dr. Adams' family on his passing. He was my obgyn when I was pregnant with my son Kristopher in 1983/84 and he was the best doctor I have ever had. I would like to share a quote with his family "Dr. Adams has not died but merely gone away to a better place free of pain and suffering. We will see him again someday" Rest in Peace Dr. Adams. You are loved and will be missed - Posted by: Patricia Homenick (Former patient) on: Nov 20, 2019

  • You impressed me as a young medical student many years ago. RIP Nichola Newman - Posted by: Nicholas Newman (Student friend) on: Nov 20, 2019

  • My sympathy to the family of Dr. Adams. He cared for me in the later stages of my pregnancies and one miscarriage, and delivered my three children back in the 1980s. I had a deep respect for this kind, gentle, dry witted man. Another good one gone. May he Rest In Peace. - Posted by: Lauren Godin (Former patient ) on: Nov 20, 2019

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