Prof O. Conor Ward (Class of 1946)

RIP Wed 22nd Dec 2021

Dear colleague

It is with sadness that I write to acknowledge the passing of Professor Conor Ward, aged 98 years, on Wed 22nd Dec at his home in Teddington, London, after a short illness.

Conor Ward (UCD School of Medicine, Class of 1946) was appointed Paediatrician and Paediatric Cardiologist at the newly founded Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin (now CHI at Crumlin) in 1956 and in 1970, he was appointed Professor of Paediatrics at UCD.

During his career, Conor, a superb diagnostician whose brilliance as a physician is well-recorded, spearheaded the development of cardiology and cardiac surgery for children in Ireland and pioneered surgical methods for operating on children with both minor cardiac abnormalities and complex structural heart defects.

Conor received lifetime service awards from Down Syndrome Ireland and the UK Downs Syndrome Association, for his care of children with Downs. Through his research and writing, he was identified as the preeminent authority on the life of John Langdon Down who first described the syndrome. His book ‘John Langdon Down, A Caring Pioneer’, was published by the Royal Society of Medicine in 1998 and Conor received an award from the UK Society of Authors following that publication.

Conor demanded excellence from everybody he worked with, which he saw as imperative in terms of what children and their families should expect from those who cared for them. He always showed children and their families, tremendous care and compassion and had a unique ability to reassure them, following a complex diagnosis and during complex treatment.

He is also remembered as someone who was always in good humour, unfailingly kind and helpful and who had a tremendous joy for life and storytelling.

Conor was a wonderful teacher, clinician and mentor, with a vision for building a world class all-Ireland integrated paediatric cardiology and cardiac surgical service. He made a magnificent contribution to paediatric medicine, medical education and research and was a true pioneer and legend in the field.

Professor Ward is survived by his wife, Pauline (née Sutton), his children and their spouses, Kevin and Maureen, Michael and Carol, Niall and Colette, Helen and Mike (Moore), and Susan and Paul (Rowe) and his grandchildren, Juliet, Damian, Felicity, Simon, Aisleen, Laura, Michael, Cian, Harry, Sophie, Christopher, Nicola and Matthew and his eleven great grandchildren.

You may like to leave a message of condolence here

May Professor Conor Ward rest peacefully.

With very best wishes,


Prof Michael P. Keane, MD, FRCPI, FRCP                 
Dean of Medicine, Head of School    

UCD School of Medicine
C110 Health Sciences Centre
University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4

T + 353 1 716 6609| F +353 1 221 3759|