Hildebrand, Henry D. (1931-2008)

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Dr. Henry Hildebrand

Henry Daniel Hildebrand: physician and vascular surgeon; born 1 March, 1931 to Daniel and Anna (Dyck) Hildebrand in Niverville, Manitoba. Henry was the eighth child in a family of five sons and seven daughters. In 1954 he married Hildegard Klassen. They had two sons, Lloyd and Ralph and one daughter, Sharon. Henry died 13 February 2008 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In 1956 Henry Hildebrand graduated from medical school in Manitoba having made money in the breaks between university years as a porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He pursued further studies in medicine in Cleveland, Ohio and Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium before leaving for the Congo in 1959, bringing his wife Hilda and their two young sons to pursue an indefinite career in missionary medicine. Political turmoil in the country necessitated the return of the family to Canada after just a year. While Hilda remained in Steinbach with the boys, Henry went back to Africa to work for another four months under extremely trying circumstances.

In 1962 Henry, along with his family, moved to Vancouver where he pursued a residency in General Surgery at the Vancouver General Hospital. In 1965 Dr. Hildebrand became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and embarked on a successful career as one of the first in the new specialty field of vascular surgery. He retired from active surgery in 1995. Through his career, Henry found time to do volunteer medical work in Central America, Zaire, Kazakhstan and a final six-month term in Kenya in 2000-2001

Hildebrand was well known for his ability to lead and to speak. He frequently gave sermons in Killarney Park Mennonite Brethren Church and Point Grey Fellowship, often illustrating his messages with references to his medical experiences. Henry volunteered for many leadership positions including professional roles as Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of British Columbia, Chairman of the International Relations Committee for the Faculty of Medicine, President of the Christian Medical Society (1970-1975) and President of the Pacific Northwest Vascular Society. He was also much involved in the work of the church as a board member and helped found Point Grey Fellowship and the Menno Simons Centre in Vancouver. Henry was an enthusiast of academia. He served Regent College, a Christian graduate school in Vancouver, as Chairman (1981-1984), Governor (1972-1990) and Senate Member (1990-1992).

Outside of his work Henry Hildebrand spent many winter holidays skiing in various places in North America. Henry and his wife Hilda were also prolific travelers, who were privileged to visit virtually every corner of the globe – often combining work with sightseeing. After retirement Henry and Hilda spent a part of many winters “snowbirding” in Palm Springs, California and Solvang where they golfed and entertained friends and family. Succumbing to his sons’ recreational pursuits Henry also enjoyed motorcycling in his latter years. Henry was never idle or bored. If he wasn’t reading the latest books, he was in his workshop polishing up the newly completed crokinole board.

 One particular legacy Henry Hildebrand leaves is the Vesiculo-Vaginal Fistula endowment with the African Inland Mission. The endowment provides funds for young women with this physically and socially debilitating problem to have reconstructive surgery.


Hildebrand. Henry D. Tides and Times: A Life Story. 2006.

Author(s) Lloyd David Hildebrand
Date Published March 2010

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MLA style

Hildebrand, Lloyd David. "Hildebrand, Henry D. (1931-2008)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2010. Web. 20 Feb 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hildebrand,_Henry_D._(1931-2008)&oldid=123759.

APA style

Hildebrand, Lloyd David. (March 2010). Hildebrand, Henry D. (1931-2008). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 February 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hildebrand,_Henry_D._(1931-2008)&oldid=123759.

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