Mr. Murray B. Koffler

Jan 22, 1924 — Nov 05, 2017

It is with much sorrow that I share with you the news of the passing of our dear friend, Murray Koffler. Murray passed away on Sunday, November 5, at the age of 93.

Murray took over his father’s two Toronto pharmacies at the young age of 17 following his father’s death, and, after graduating from pharmacy school, he turned these stores into a retail drugstore empire. He developed the concept for Shoppers Drug Mart, which became a highly successful retail pharmacy chain store throughout Canada. However, this was only one area of success for Murray, who was also a community leader and philanthropist par excellence. He supported a wide variety of causes, founding the Council on Drug Abuse, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, and the Koffler Centre of the Arts, as well as many Jewish causes both in his own community and in Israel. In 1996, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

At the Weizmann Institute of Science, he shared his leadership skills and business acumen through his service on the Board of Governors beginning in 1967, and as Deputy Chair and Chairman of the Board of Governors from 1987-2003. Murray was also the driving force behind the establishment of Weizmann Canada. He continued to be active in Israel and Canada as a member of the Executive Council and Executive Board, and in 2005 the International Board elected Murray as Life Member.  The PhD honoris causa that was awarded to Murray by the Institute for his service and leadership in 1976 was truly deserved. His memory will live on here at the Weizmann Institute through the iconic gift of the Koffler Accelerator of the Canada Centre of Nuclear Physics, which became not only the icon of the Weizmann Institute of Science but of Israeli science.

Murray and his wife, Marvelle, also created the Marvelle Koffler Program for Breast Cancer Research, and the Murray B. Koffler Professorial Chair.

Murray’s wisdom, compassion, and ability to ignite his own spirit of philanthropy in others was truly commendable and a legacy for future generations. The Institute has been honored by this association with Murray, and he will be sorely missed.

On behalf of the members of the International Board and the entire Weizmann Institute family, I extend to Marvelle, their children Leon, Theo, Tom, Adam, and Tiana, and the entire family my condolences for their loss.


Daniel Zajfman, President