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.