The late Dr. Francis Sam’s generosity extended from Ghana to Canada

Dr Francis Sam

Dr. Francis Bainyin Sam passed away suddenly on Monday, October 4, 2021, at the age of 84. He died peacefully in Accra, Ghana, where he always wished to live out his final days. Sam was born in Accra on February 10, 1937, where he lived and grew up alongside his 12 brothers and sisters. His proudest achievements were undoubtedly his long career as a physician and building a loving extended family as well as an international array of friends and colleagues.

Sam spent his adolescent years at Adisadel Boys College in Cape Coast, Ghana. In 1961, he was selected as one of two Ghanaian Commonwealth Scholars to attend the University of Alberta (U of A) in Edmonton, Canada. During his time as an undergraduate at U of A he met his ex-wife Catherine Wright and together they had his only son Garth Francis Bainyin Kweku Sam on September 2nd, 1964. 

After completing his Doctorate in Medicine in 1967, Sam returned to Ghana and accepted employment as a Medical Officer in the Ghanaian Armed Forces.  He was stationed as a physician in both Accra and Takoradi, which was the start of a 45 year career as a health care professional.  Dr. Sam and Catherine celebrated the birth of his first daughter Lanalee Araba Sekyiwa Sam, in Ghana on May 10th, 1969.

In 1972, Dr. Sam returned to the U of A and completed a four-year residency in obstetrics & gynecology. He later relocated to Toronto, Canada and opened his private practice becoming a pioneer as one of the few African ob/gyn specialists in Canada. In Toronto, he met his ex-wife Sandra Jane Pennell and they welcomed two daughters, Tanya Nana Panfua Sam and Tamara Baisua Sam, born on December 13th, 1978 and January 7th, 1980, respectively.

Dr. Sam established himself as one of Canada’s preeminent Black physicians, delivering literally thousands of babies and helping countless patients, including many undocumented immigrants to whom he provided free medical care.  In addition to his role as a physician, he established himself as an outspoken leader alongside many esteemed professional peers & business leaders. 

In 2012, Dr. Sam retired from active practice to happily divide his life between summers in Toronto & winters at his home in Accra, Ghana.

He was well-known for his outgoing, generous and larger-than-life personality. He loved social events & was a genial host who enjoyed bringing people together to share laughter, music, dance spirited debate & great food. There were very few invitations that he turned down, and few people that he turned away. 

Dr. Sam’s home in Toronto was home to family and friends alike; a haven for  exchange students & barely-known strangers, many of whom were welcome to stay there for months at a time. 

In the end, Dr. Sam lived out his last days in Ghana exactly how he will be remembered most:  as a passionate, generous man savoring his well-earned retirement in his birth country, surrounded by people who loved & respected him.