Dr. Stirling Carpenter: 1929-2021

Dr. Carpenter was a distinguished neuropathologist who served as Chief of Neuropathology

With sadness, The Neuro announces the death of Dr. Stirling Carpenter, the distinguished neuropathologist who served as Chief of Neuropathology from 1977 to 1994. Dr. Carpenter was alert and in stable health before contracting Covid-19 early this month. He died in Porto, Portugal, on February 19 at the age of 91. A funeral service was held in Porto.

A quiet, dignified man, Dr. Carpenter was universally respected as neuropathologist, researcher and teacher. A contributor to more than 200 scientific papers, Dr. Carpenter co-authored with his colleague, the late Dr. George Karpati, the definitive standard textbook on the pathology of neuromuscular disorders, Pathology of Skeletal Muscle (1984). Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Karpati also made memorable authoritative presentations to staff and students at Neurological Grand Rounds held in the old Hughlings Jackson Amphitheatre. Delighting in sharing his vast knowledge and in collaborating with his colleagues, Dr. Carpenter avidly engaged in interdisciplinary approaches to conducting research. He made seminal observations in connection with the pathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and several other neurological disorders.

Dr. Carpenter received his BA from Princeton University (1950) and his MD from Temple University, Philadelphia (1957). He joined McGill University in 1975. Upon leaving The Neuro, he served in the Department of Pathology at the University of Toronto. In 1998, Dr. Carpenter moved to Portugal, the homeland of his wife, Dr. Lígia Castro, a neurologist and neuropathologist. He acted as a consultant on prion diseases at Hospital de São João in the city of Porto and was an invited professor at the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto.

Remembering Dr. Carpenter

“I had great respect for Dr. Carpenter and I am saddened at his passing. His influence extended beyond neuropathology to clinical neurosurgery. He was the kind of person who drew us to The Neuro in the first place.” – Dr. Richard Leblanc, neurosurgeon.

“He was a major influence in my early years at The Neuro. I and other basic scientists benefitted from sitting in on the weekly biopsy readings that he did with George Karpati, doing diagnoses and training the residents.” – Dr. Heather Durham, Principal Investigator, Rare Neurological Diseases.

“Dr. Carpenter was such a big part of what The Neuro was when I arrived here in 1984. I have indelible memories of the neuromuscular pathology slide-reading sessions on Friday mornings. It was the George and Stirling show---great entertainment and great education combined.” – Dr. Ken Hastings, Principal Investigator, Rare Neurological Diseases.

Please join The Neuro community in offering our deepest condolences to Stirling’s family and friends.

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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