Founder of Black Canadian Scholarship Fund dies in Ottawa at 87


 

Dr. Horace Clayton Alexis

Retired physician Dr. Horace Clayton Alexis who founded the Black  Canadian Scholarship Fund, died at the Ottawa hospital on February 7 last. He was 87.

Trinidad-born  Dr.Alexis was one of the first Black graduates from the University of Ottawa medical school.

After graduation  in 1967, he started his practice in Petrolia, Ontario where he encountered racism. More than 300 people in the town  signed a petition saying that they did not want a Black doctor .But he and his wife decided that they were going to stay in Petrolia and he  developed his practice there.

Dr. Alexis became the chief of staff of the Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Pertrolia and a director on the Board of the Petrolia Credit Union.

In 1974  when he decided to return to Ottawa  with his family, a petition was signed by 3600 people begging him to stay in Petrolia.

But he  went on to establish his medical practice in Ottawa South, where he served as a family doctor for many years. He  retired in 2009.

After overcoming the challenges he had accessing higher education, he decided to help disadvantaged Black youth in the Ottawa community and in 1996 he founded  the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund.

” We have given scholarships to over 50  students  and all of them have been extremely successful.  Some have become doctors lawyers  and  engineers. One has a PhD in mathematics.  We have a few nurses as well,”  said  Dr. Alexis’s wife, Christiane, a member of the Fund’s selection committee.

She described  her husband as “a total son  of Trinidad.

“He made the best rum punch and  fish cakes and loved to dance to calypso music. He was the life of the party,”

“He had four children from his first marriage three children from his second and was the stepfather of my two children.,” she said.

A funeral service for Dr. Horace Clayton Alexis was held at the Beechwood funeral home in Ottawa on  Saturday February 16 last.