In Memoriam

UPDATED Sept 19 2023

Dr. Mary Hallowell (1926 – 2023)

Dr. Mary Hallowell

Dr. Mary Hallowell graduated from Leeds Medical School in 1950. She worked in many United Leeds Hospitals, mainly in internal medicine and pediatrics, while preparing for higher qualifications in these subjects. Official training programs were non-existent, and higher qualifications in internal medicine were necessary to become a pediatrician in England. In 1956, she was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and a few years later she was elected to the fellowship. She subsequently worked for 2½ years in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, renowned at the time for its work on celiac disease. Intestinal biopsy had just been introduced, and she carried out many of these procedures. [Read full Obituary]

Copy and Image, property of BCMJ.

Ms. Betty Ha Wai Wong (JUNE 5, 1960 – MAY 4, 2023)

Ms. Betty Ha Wai Wong

From her birth in 1960 in Hong Kong, Betty was the quiet one in the family, quietly intelligent, quietly observant and appreciative of life. Never at the forefront of things but constantly keeping in touch, she has always been the one who embraced changes, moving with the times. This trait was reflected in everything she did, even the way she walked — sure footed and never very far behind.

From a blissful childhood she blossomed into a prodigy, a mathematical genius who was very good with numbers. As Betty moved from Maryknoll Convent School in Hong Kong to Eric Hamber Secondary School in Vancouver in her adolescence, her academic results shone through. She graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and soon moved back to Hong Kong to start a career. As a pioneer in the IT field, in the 1980’s, Betty moved up in the corporate ladder, and became the manager of Reuters News Agency in Taiwan and then, the Managing Director of Stock Market Channel, Reuters.

Her aptitude with numbers and eye for meticulous detail would be the envy of every employer. Her vigour in life would be something we should all emulate. Symbolic of her dedication to excellence, Betty completed an MBA at the University of Hong Kong in 1988. After many years of solid work achievements, she built her own company which became a thriving business venture. It is a mark of her success that in her later years Betty was able to relinquish the business world to relax and enjoy life, teaching piano to youngsters in Hong Kong.

Betty has travelled far and wide, and has been to many parts of our world, learning about different cultures. Those who have been privileged to share some of these times with her would cherish such precious memories. Following her resettlement in Canada in 2018, Betty has kept on experiencing the beauty and diversity of Canada, while enjoying her work and down times with friends. Her love for music extended from playing to singing, as many friends can testify. It is with much sadness that Betty left us so unexpectedly. This tragic loss deeply affected the family, and surely wreaked emotional havoc with her friends. As Betty would have wished, our love for life should not, and could not, wane.

Cross-posted with permission.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Vancouver Symphony in honor of Betty’s love of live concerts, her piano and beautiful music. VSO contact:


Betty has been with the VEC since May 2018, and I know many of you who joined more recently will not have had the pleasure of her infectious enthusiasm and joyful company. While most of you will not have noticed Betty’s influence – she is responsible for balancing our books and helping keep the VEC show on the road, through the increasing complexity and intensity of the pandemic – and she influenced every person at the VEC. – Dr. Manish Sadarangani, BM BCh FRCPC DPhil, Director, Vaccine Evaluation Center, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Obituary notice

Dr. Esias Renier van Rensburg

Dr. Esias Renier van Rensburg (Sept 6 1963 – Nov 2 2022)

Esias Van Rensburg was born in South Africa on Sept 6, 1963. He was the oldest of four children and cherished by his family. He went to medical school and the story goes that he attempted to switch out to engineering on the first day after being confronted by the morgue and multiple cadavers by an over eager professor. His Dad was said to calmly connect him to a physician who encouraged Esias to stick with his first plan, assuring him that live patients were in fact the main theme to come, and not to give up. Fortunately for the many patients that received his skilled, compassionate warm-hearted care, he stuck to the path of medicine.

Esias had very hands on pediatric training in South Africa, honed his skills in acute care, and gained vast amounts of experience. Esias had a fantastic personal skill of always playing the hand he was dealt in life, no complaining, just moving forward. Looking to fully live freely as his true self, he bravely left his home country to move to Saskatchewan in 1996. His story of arriving in Prince Albert in November in minus forty degree weather with no winter coat would have us all in stitches. Again, he almost turned around, but then stuck with his game plan, found a coat, and went on to face down the winters and his Canadian pediatric exams. Esias flourished as a remarkable and respected pediatrician and then pediatric emergency room doctor in both PA and Saskatoon. Esias met his beloved life partner Dean, and they built a life together, first on the cold prairies, and in 2001 relocated to Vancouver Island.

Esias joined a five-person community consulting pediatric practice in Nanaimo. Dean and Esias made the most of coastal life, with home renovations, travel, art collecting, dinner parties, cool drives in the red convertible BMW, and doting on their two dogs. He was a much-respected colleague who could be counted on to manage the most emergent complicated situation, and always astonish with his ability to motivate a team, to collaborate, and to shine light on the success and abilities of others. His commitment to the full scope of community pediatrics ultimately led him to a new twist, and he started his fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics in 2006 at Sunnyhill Hospital in Vancouver.

It was his initial intention to return to the Island after training. He elected to remain at Sunny Hill/BCCH and worked in acute rehabilitation and the neuromotor program including taking on the medical lead role for this. When asked why he did not work within the autism diagnostic program, he related feedback received during his training that he needed to repress his exuberance because all kids interacted with him! He worked tirelessly and was often on the go. Families and kids loved him and this was evidenced by the smiles he brought to faces.

Along with his clinical skills and knowledge, Esias was an educator at heart. He took on the Developmental Pediatrics subspecialty residency program and our Division education lead role. He was supportive, organized, and with all things brought a lot of heart into this endeavor. His last role within our division was assuming the role of Senior medical director in 2020. His leadership was obvious as he helped Sunny Hill simultaneously navigate the early months of COVID and still prepare to move from our Slocan site.

When confronted with his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, a terminal disease, Esias again reconsidered his options, and recreated himself and a new life. He took up many hobbies, needlepoint perhaps being the most unexpected. Seeking meaning, purpose, community, and a strategy against despair, he took up tennis, golf, birdwatching, crafting with bronze wire, the infamous needlepoint, and was discovering remote controlled aircraft in his last year. Esias is remembered by his friends, family, and colleagues as a gem of a human, who made infinite room for others, who motivated and celebrated, who loved to laugh and joke, and who referred to every child he cared for as “just beautiful…” and to every parent no matter their challenges as “trying so hard.” His optimism and grateful bearing were with him in his final moments with last words being “thank you” and “I love you,” and his lovely soul burned brightly until his final breath. The entire community of British Columbia Pediatricians and staff mourn with the family and send their deepest sympathies to his husband Dean and family.

Esias requested that there would be no formal memorial. In its place, he hopes to be remembered by the people who knew him. Please honor this request by sharing stories. In this way, his presence with us will remain.

He is survived by his husband Dean, and siblings Mia (Louw), Jerry (Linda), and Andre (Susan), and his nieces and nephews Mia, Jeremy, Leah, Andreas and Gaffie. Predeceased by his parents Andreas and Marita, and nephew Andre. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to BCCH/SHHC, BC Cancer or the SPCA in his memory.

– Drs. Jennifer Balfour and Nancy Lanphear, Division of Developmental Pediatrics

Link to Obituary

Dr. Joseph Rafael Bensimon

Dr. Joseph Rafael Bensimon (August 2022)

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Joseph Rafael Bensimon z”l, who passed away peacefully at the age of 95 at his home in Zichron Yaakov, Israel.

“Dr. Bensimon was a well-known paediatrician in Vancouver for over 40 years, as well as an active member of the Jewish community until making Aliyah in 1993. He was also a founding member of Beth Hamidrash, and one of their early Board Presidents.

For those of you that didn’t know, he was my pediatrician growing up in Vancouver – which I am sure had an influence on my career choice!

On one of my visits I recall, Dr. Paul Korn did a locum for him and saw me as a patient!

Dr. Bensimon will be sorely missed. May his memory for a blessing”. – Dr. Erik Swartz

“At the time I joined the Pediatric Department in 1972, Joe was an established member of the Pediatric community, providing ward coverage at the Health Centre for Children while working in private practice.

He was a likable, hard working staff member who contributed significantly to the Department’s operations at a time when there was a heavy reliance on community pediatric teachers.

Joe lived in an impressive house in the first Shaughnessy area, just off Granville street in Vancouver and I thought that he’d eventually retire there.

To the surprise of many, Joe sold the house and departed Vancouver to live in Israel, and memory of his many contributions have understandably, after 30 years, faded somewhat from our scene.

I remember him as a competent, bright, insightful and friendly pediatrician, and am sorry to hear of his departure”. – Dr. David F Smith

“Dr. Joe Bensimon was a highly skilled clinician and teacher. He was adored by his patients and respected by his colleagues. He will be missed”. – Dr. Paul Korn

I have many heartwarming memories of Dr. Bensimon.

He was respected and a much loved paediatrician and member of our Department for many years until he moved to Israel where he spent the final chapter of his life.

Joe had an irrepressible outlook on life and a positive demeanour.

He was also known to have a very busy primary care practice which he ran out of the Fairmont building in Vancouver.

One remarkable — and in my experience unique feature of his style of running his practice — was not to assign patients precise appointment times. Instead, he would just tell them what day to return! Later on he confided in me that some days at his office were pretty crazy.

Just thinking of him brings a smile to my face.

With fond memories,

– Dr. Paul Thiessen


Dr. Robert Maclean (Bob)

Robert Maclean (Bob) (July 1, 1925 – Mar 14 2022)

Dear Friends:

Dr. Robert (Bob) Maclean was a dear friend and colleague, who passed away on March 14, 2022 at the age of ninety-six. He grew up in Toronto, and when he was in high school the family physician who lived next door allowed him to accompany him on house calls. This experience had a profound influence on Bob’s decision to pursue medicine as a career.

Bob had vivid childhood memories of a polio epidemic. His parents kept him at home, and they would not allow him to play with his friends. To combat the boredom of his confinement, Bob and his friends built a wooden roller coaster in their backyard. This attraction quickly became a popular entertainment magnet in the neighbourhood, and thus did not isolate him from contagion.

Bob served in the Canadian Navy during WWII. He struggled with constant seasickness and ate raw potatoes on deck to try to mitigate the nausea. When he returned home from the Navy in 1945, Bob found out from his father that he was accepted into medical school at the University of Toronto. He graduated in 1950, and in his class of 165 people, and at the time there was only one female student!

Bob encountered another polio epidemic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in the early fifties just prior to the arrival of the first Salk Polio Vaccine in 1955. Following his graduation from medical school Bob entered his training in pediatrics at Babies and Rainbow Hospital at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. There, he trained with the renowned Dr. Virginia Apgar, an obstetrical anesthesiologist, and the neonatologist Dr. William Silverman. Bob also worked with Dr. Dorothy Anderson, a pediatrician and pathologist who was the first to identify and describe the disease Cystic Fibrosis. This discovery, sparked Bob’s lifelong interest in CF. It was also around this time, that Bob decided to focus his career on the care of newborns.

In New York, he met a Canadian colleague, Dr. Jack Whitelaw and they became fast friends. In 1955, Bob and Jack Whitelaw established a pediatric practice in Vancouver. Dr. Bill Arnold, originally from Vancouver, also trained at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, joined their practice in 1969. Together, they established a cooperative practice model in which they agreed to equally share the work and financial earnings amongst the partners.

Bob was an excellent and much-admired teacher. His early years of practice were especially busy, and he sometimes took his young children on house calls all over the city so that he could spend more time with them as he established his busy practice.

For over 30 years Bob was Head of Newborn Care at the Grace Hospital and then BC Women’s Hospital. He was known to be a fair and effective administrator, and he also served as the Acting CEO at BC Women’s Hospital for one year.

I asked Bob a few years ago what he thought was the single biggest advance in his medical career, and without hesitation he said ‘vaccines.’

Bob was self-assured and cheerful throughout his life, with an irreverent and irrepressible sense of humor. His life was guided by loyalty and devotion to his family, his colleagues, and friends.

I am privileged to have had Bob as a colleague, mentor, and friend throughout my career. It was truly a joy to work and know him.

– Paul Thiessen & Jane Hailey

Link to obituary


Dr. Jim Carter

James Edward Carter (Jim) (June 24, 1938 – October 1, 2021)

Dr. James Edward Carter passed away peacefully at home with his family at his side. He is survived by his wife, Lynn and his children Mark (Anna), Edward (Arezou), David, Jonathan and Christine and his 4 beloved grandchildren, Ridley and Eliot; Emma; and Darius. He also leaves behind his sister Beryl and his brother Geoffrey (Ellen). Jim was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to Daniel Carter and Dorothea (Dolly) Kow. He grew up as part of the close knit Chinese community during apartheid. Jim completed medical school at the University of Cape Town. In 1967 he emigrated to Canada and quickly sponsored his late sister June and brother Geoff to join him. Jim did his paediatric residency and completed his Fellowship at the UBC Health Centre for Children. In 1976 Jim was awarded a McLaughlin Fellowship which allowed him to move to London, England where he completed his training in paediatric nephrology at Guy’s Hospital. Upon his return to Vancouver, Jim was one of only two paediatric nephrologists in the province for over 15 years. Jim established the first hospital based child abuse and neglect team in the province. He joined the UBC Faculty of Medicine in Paediatrics becoming a Professor and then Associate Dean, Admissions at the UBC Medical School. Jim was elected President of the Canadian Paediatric Society in 1989 and awarded a Life Membership in 2005. Following his retirement from BC Children’s Hospital he could frequently be found on a tennis court or at a bridge table with his many friends. Jim was a generous and loving husband, father and friend. He will be profoundly missed.

In lieu of flowers donate to BC Children’s Foundation.

Cross-posted from the Vancouver Sun Obituaries.



Dr. Derek Applegarth (July 5 1937 – July 28, 2021)

After battling cancer for several weeks, Dr. Derek Applegarth died peacefully at home on July 28, 2021.

In 2000, Dr. Derek Applegarth was recognized for his career achievements by the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists with the CCMG Founders Award for Excellence in Medical Genetics. The CCMG Founders Award for Excellence in Medical Genetics was created on October 17, 1990 and the first recipient was selected in 1991.

Derek Applegarth is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics. He is a career biochemist who ran a lab at Children’s hospital which diagnosed and was involved in the treatment of children with inherited metabolic diseases. He was a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and Medical Genetics until his retirement in 2003. He was Chair of the Board of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists in 1989 and 1990 and participated in the founding and ongoing administration of the fellowship awards-program in Biochemical Genetics. He was awarded the Founders Award of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists in 2000, and in 2015, the award of the Garrod Association (the Canadian group of professionals working on metabolic diseases in children). In UBC affairs he served on the Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and was a member of the Faculty executive, during which time he initiated the annual Applegarth Award for Outstanding Achievements by UBC staff.

Source: The Association of Professors Emeriti (APE) – Newsletter, September 2015

Dr. Derek Applegarth Obituary (Published 19 August 2021 in the Vancouver Sun)


Dr. Patricia Susan Penfold (Sue) (February 11, 1936 – February 7, 2021)

We are very sorry to announce that Patricia Susan Penfold passed away on February 7 after a valiant battle to overcome the effects of a major stroke. Her passing leaves a major void in many lives, including us children, Robert, Mary, and Paul Stephenson.

Sue was born on February 11, 1936, in Wells-next-the-Sea, England as the first child to parents John and Bertha Penfold (nee Holmes). She went on to attend, as a “scholarship girl,” the Bedford High School for Girls and then was one of the very few women at the time to attend St. Mary’s Medical School in London. She and her first husband, J. Michael Stephenson, emigrated to Canada in 1959, landing first in Ontario, and eventually settling in Vancouver. Later she lived with and married Keith Payn, and in 1989 they moved to their dream home in Tsawwassen.

Sue became a respected psychiatrist with BC Children’s Hospital and a full professor at UBC Faculty of Medicine, writing two professional books and numerous journal articles. Sue was the inaugural chair of what was then Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. As a passionate child psychiatrist, feminist, and advocate for victims of abuse by doctors and therapists, Sue touched many lives. After her retirement at age 78, she continued to volunteer for the Therapy Abuse Link Line, helping countless others. [MORE]

Dr. Robert Hunter Hill (August 13, 1926 – January 16, 2021)

Peacefully passed away in Vancouver, B.C. on January 16, 2021. Predeceased by his daughter, Diana Hill Stringer (Brad) and brother, William Blower. Survived by his wife, Helen; brother, Thomas Blower (Elizabeth); sister, Marion (David Kemp); daughter, Lisanne Hill (Robert Dowler); son, Robert Jr.; grandchildren, Sarah Dowler (Francis), Robert Dowler Jr.; and step-grandchildren, Jade and Skyler Stringer.

Rob will be fondly remembered as a dedicated pediatrician, teacher, sailor, author, musician, poet and friend. He was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1926. His early schooling was in England at Wellington House and Winchester College.

Dr. Hill’s Obituary can be found [HERE].

Cindy Behrmann holds a photo of her husband with a young patient. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Dr. Bernard “Jack” Behrmann (May 26 1954 – July 22, 2020)

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of Dr. Bernard “Jack” Behrmann, Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics, UBC.

Jack was a Pediatrician in the Richmond community for many years and served for a long while as the Department Head of Pediatrics for Richmond Hospital. He was known province-wide as an expert in ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was the driving force behind the opening of the Child Health Centre at Richmond Hospital. Jack was a longtime member of our community and was a favourite rotation of many Peds residents.

He was a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend.

His keen sense of humor and humanity will be missed by all whom he touched. May his memory be for a blessing.

~ Erik Swartz, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Jack Behrmann’s Obituary can be found [HERE]

Family, medical community remembers influential Richmond pediatrician who died of COVID-19



Dr. Michael Whitfield (Oct 29 1946 – June 23rd 2020)

It is with our deepest sorrow that we are sharing the sad news of the death of Dr. Michael (Mike) Whitfield on June 23rd at 10:00 am after a long illness.

Mike had been a valued member of the Division of Neonatology and Neonatal Program from 1981 to 2012. He led our Neonatal Follow Up Program from its inception, and was one of the founders of Neonatal Follow Up in Canada. His leading contributions in Neonatal Follow Up have shaped neonatal care and continue to positively impact the lives of patients and families.

Mike was always supportive of the personal, professional, and academic growth of a wide array of individuals who were lucky to come in contact with him over the years.
Overall, Mike was a truly wise friend and supportive mentor who was always ready to listen and whose sense of humor and pearls of wisdom marked the lives of all us who had the privilege to know him.

We will always keep him in our memories.

~ Julie de Salaberry, Director, BC Women’s Neonatal Program and Dr. Horacio Osiovich, Division Head, Neonatal Program

GLOBE & MAIL Obituary published July 4 2020.


Dr. Alexander George Fagans Davidson, Professor Emeritus (October 3, 1937 – January 6, 2020)

Dr. Davidson, predeceased by his wife Mary Rose and his brother Roy, will be sadly missed by his daughters Fiona (Paul C.) and Flora (Paul B.), cousins in Manitoba and in the U.K. and many friends and colleagues in the medical and academic community. A Funeral service will be held at 11 am, Monday, January 27th, 2020, at St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, 5350 Baillie Street (corner of West 37th Ave.)

George earned Chemistry and Medical Degrees at the University of British Columbia. It was during this time that his work as one of the summer researchers for Professor Harold Copp contributed to the discovery of Calcitonin. George opted to complete his Medical Residency in London, England, working at several hospitals including Great Ormond Street, Queen Elizabeth’s in Hackney, and the Royal Free in Hampstead. [MORE]







Dr. Colin White, Division of Nephrology (JUNE 13 1968 – JULY 29, 2018)

With the passing of pediatric nephrologist Dr. Colin White this summer, the BC renal   community has lost a much admired and fondly regarded leader, physician and clinical educator.

Winner of the 2017 Wilma Crocket Award and numerous other awards during his career, Colin died July 29, 2018. He was 50 years old.

Colin was born in Scotland and grew up in New Brunswick. He received his medical training in Ottawa and London, Ontario before being recruited to BC Children’s Hospital in 2000, where he became leader of the dialysis program.  He was also a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at UBC and involved in multiple provincial renal network committees and initiatives.

Colin distinguished himself as a passionate and gifted medical educator and as a strong advocate for evidence-guided clinical care for infants, children and youth with chronic kidney disease.  He brought humility and compassion to his work with patients and their families and with inter-professional care providers locally, nationally and internationally. Through his dedication to his patients and to excellence in medical practice and research he earned the respect, admiration and fondness of the many people whose lives he touched.

Colin was a master of teaching and learning in medicine, working closely with medical students, pediatric residents and nephrology trainees. His weekly nephrology in-patient sit-down rounds were legendary amongst the subspecialty residents. They selected him for the coveted Laura MacRae Award as the best subspecialty resident in pediatrics (2002), the Rookie-of-the-Year Award (2005), and the Teacher of the Year Award (2009 and 2017). His graduate students, now dispersed across Canada and around the world, created a network of pediatric nephrologists he continued to nurture after their graduation.

Throughout his career, working with patients and their families was always Colin’s first priority.  Though a very private individual, he showed immense empathy for his most complex patients with chronic kidney disease, partly because he had first-hand experience as a dialysis and kidney transplant patient.

Colin was dedicated to the principles of interdisciplinary care, embracing the roles and expertise of all members of his team toward providing optimal patient care. He led by example and never rushed his visits with patients and families. His approach was honest, direct and often leavened with humour.

Colin was the author of 50 peer-reviewed publications and an invited speaker at several annual nephrology scientific meetings.  He was especially involved with the annual Fundamentals of Dialysis/Pediatric Dialysis Symposium and the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD). His professional contributions were formally recognized this year, at the 2018 ISPD Congress in Vancouver.

Colin was a passionate photographer, a devoted Montreal Canadiens fan, and an avid reader of science fiction. He is survived by his life partner of 25 years, Catherine Fiona Macpherson, RN, PhD. He is deeply missed by all who knew him.

Our thanks to Dr. Allison Eddy, Chief of Pediatric Medicine, Children’s and Women’s Hospitals and Sunny Hill Health Centre, and the kidney care team at BC Children’s Hospital for their contributions to this tribute of Dr. Colin White. – BC Provincial Renal Agency

A celebration of Dr. White’s life and work is being planned for November 20 2018 at the Arbutus Club. Please contact Alice So for details.

Messages from the Division of Nephrology fellows and staff members:

My heart hangs heavy on the news of Colin’s passing. There isn’t a day that goes by in our dialysis unit where I don’t ask myself, “WWCD?” He has shared with us his wealth of knowledge, and he will be missed dearly.
– Kathy Lee-Son, Nephrology Fellow

Such sad news. He really was a great man and I will never forget his fantastic teaching sessions.
– Niamh Dolan, Nephrology Fellow

It is such a huge loss – personally and professionally. Colin was an incredible mentor and teacher to us all, we were so fortunate for the time and interest he bestowed on his fellows. Please pass on my respects to the BCCH renal team, he is and will continue to be hugely missed.
– Chanel Prestidge, Nephrology Fellow

Colin is a huge loss professionally and personally – he was a great teacher, mentor and friend. My thoughts and prayers will be with him, Fiona and the team in BCCH.
– Chia Wei, Nephrology Fellow

We lost a great person at all levels. Please pass my deep condolence to Fiona and the entire team in BCCH. Regards,
– Anoud, Nephrology Fellow

My condolences to Fiona and all of the renal team. He was an amazing person and a great teacher. He will never be forgotten .
– Salma, Nephrology Fellow

With deepest sympathy for the loss of a friend and colleague. Colin was a dedicated and highly appreciated colleague and friend. He contributed significantly to BCCH and was all enjoyed working and interacting with him. His presence will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
– The GI Division

Dr. Dennis Jordon Vince (JANUARY 3, 1930 – JULY 19, 2018)

Pediatrics in British Columbia lost a cardiology pioneer on July 19th 2018. Dennis, or Denny as he was commonly known in the Department, died in his 89th year, after a lengthy retirement following a medical career based at the Vancouver General Hospital and BC Children’s Hospital. He was a Professor of Pediatrics at UBC and was a clinician, a teacher, and a mentor. A close colleague, Dr George Sandor, informed me that Denny did basic research with pulmonary artery banding and devised a dilatable band which found some use. He was also one of the first people in Medicine to be involved in using research in teaching methodology in order to work on teaching objectives. This included advice on how to deliver these objectives and how to assess their effectiveness.

Denny was careful in approach and a cautious man and I found him reserved in nature. He was of relatively short stature and had a very direct gaze which could be disconcerting until you came to know him better and realized that his gaze wasn’t due to something that you did.

I first met him in 1965, during my Pediatric intern rotation at the Health Centre for Children, the VGH building on 12th avenue which housed most of the pediatric academic and clinical activities at the time. I had seen him months earlier however, as a temporary surgical assistant for Dr Phil Ashmore, the sole Pediatric Cardiac surgeon of the period.

Phil was repairing a congenital heart lesion in a young patient, and during the procedure, found that the anatomical variant he encountered was slightly different from the medical findings described by Dr Vince beforehand. Denny was called to the OR and a discussion ensued about the situation. Looking back from a vantage point of over 50 years, I’ve come to realize that, with no ultrasounds available, and with limited investigative studies to rely on, diagnostic cardiology at that time was a bit of a challenge.

Phil was humorous man, but also tall and imposing, and he was definitely not a shrinking violet. Nevertheless, I thought Denny held his own in that discussion.

And the operation was eventually completed successfully.

Over the previous few years, Denny had brought Pediatric cardiac catheterization to VGH, and he was the local expert in the area. The other Cardiologist on staff was Dr Morris Young, clinically trained, and at that point, close to retirement. Denny represented the future of Pediatric Cardiology in BC.

I was placed in charge of the Children’s Outpatient department in 1972, and gradually became acquainted with Denny through work contact. We shared an interest in old cars. I owned an unrestored 1928 Model A Ford, and Denny came over to my house to see it and to offer suggestions on its many repair issues. He also took me golfing, at least twice, at the UBC Golf Club. One such endeavor included a monsoon like rainstorm, which Denny soldiered through with much enthusiasm; …considerably more enthusiasm that his partner could muster, I would add.

Following his retirement, which was dictated by the UBC policy rule of age 65, we unfortunately didn’t see Denny at our twice yearly senior Pediatric luncheons. It would have been nice to hear how he was doing. I’m sure he was very busy however, with his family which included his wife Bruna, five children, 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, an active garden, and a summer cottage on Savary Island.

On a personal level, I’ve always appreciated Denny for offering me support at a time that my academic career was just starting and somewhat tenuous. I’ve come to realize, over time, just how important such support can be when given to others in a similar position.

Sometimes small gestures turn out to be very important and can later be passed on in kind. I thank Denny for this important life lesson.

~ David F Smith MD FRCP©

Dr. Vince’s obituary can be found [HERE].

Dr. Andrew Murray (JANUARY 18 1927 – JUNE 24, 2018)

Dr. Andrew Murray, a graduate of Cape Town University, did his pediatric training in London, Edinburgh and Cape Town. In 1961 he became the Allergy Fellow at the Boston Children’s hospital, and Milton Research Fellow at Harvard where he met his wife, Molly. In Vancouver he joined the clinical staff of the Pediatric Department and was the first sub-specialist who confined his practice to children with asthma and allergy. He was later appointed Professor of Pediatrics, started the Division of Allergy at Children’s Hospital and became the first Head of that Division.

The welfare of the patient was always paramount to him. Two hours were scheduled for each new patient so that the full allergy workup and treatment plan could be completed at a single visit. This allowed patients from distant parts of BC to return home the same day.  In 1992 Dr. Murray was included in the first edition of the book listing “The Best Doctors in America”.

His research publications were the first to show the following: (i) that nasal eosinophilia is strongly associated with clinical nasal allergy; (ii) that isoproterenol, but not salbutamol, increases the heart rate and lowers the pO2; (iii) that the peak expiratory flow rate is a useful indicator of severity in status asthmaticus; (iv) that mite-sensitive asthmatics have fewer symptoms and less bronchial reactivity in a dust-free bedroom than in unchanged bedrooms; and (v) that children with asthma have more severe symptoms, lower lung function tests, and more irritable bronchi if their parents are smokers than if they are non-smokers. Dr. Murray was awarded the Canadian Society of Allergy and Immunology Research Prize in 1992, and the UBC Maternal and Child Health Research Prize in 1994.

He continued to publish his research papers upon retiring in 1992, but also attended art school. He continued to paint, mountain climb and kayak for many years afterwards. He is survived by his wife Molly, his daughter Annie (and her husband Mark) and his son William (and his wife Erin), and by his grandchildren Mary-Alice, Eloise, Alexander, Andrew and Patrick.

Dr. Murray’s obituary can be found [HERE].

Dr. Mavis Teasdale (May 6, 1925 – Mar 5 2018)

Division Head, 1970-1987, Hematology, Oncology and BMT

Twice a year, retired pediatricians, and those close to retirement, located both in the lower mainland and from around BC, have been meeting for an organized luncheon for close to twenty years.

The primary purpose for the lunch is companionship and the opportunity to meet former friends and colleagues. It’s also a time for sharing news from both BC Children’s Hospital and UBC.

One of the items discussed at each meeting is an update on those no longer with us. This year’s luncheon will provide us an opportunity to share some memories of Dr. Mavis Teasdale, a long time faculty member who passed away on March 5th 2018.

Mavis was a mainstay and a force in the Department for many years over her lengthy career through to retirement. In the 1960s and early 1970s, she was the sole hematologist/oncologist on staff.  I first met her as a rotating intern in 1965 while on my Pediatric rotation. She seemed to be responsible for what seemed like the sickest children, and trainees were expected to perform well on her service. She was demanding but she was fair. In retrospect, with low survival rates for many of her patients, and very little back-up medical support, the stresses on Mavis in those early years must have seemed overwhelming to her at times – Yet, I never heard her complain.

I started to provide weekend relief for Mavis in 1973, and she must have been satisfied with the support, as she took a six month sabbatical in 1974, leaving me with her practice. This of course left me with a much better understanding of her situation. Over the next few years, a number of new and well trained Oncologists arrived, including Dr. David Chan, Dr. Paul Rogers, and Dr. Sheila Pritchard. Dr. Chris Fryer later arrived to provide Pediatric Radiology services.

By the 1980s newer cancer protocols were now having better survival results. The Children’s Cancer Group Research team was becoming more active and an Oncology Division was finally formed. On call became less onerous, and our practice was more satisfying and better.

I maintained a busy oncology practice working with Mavis and the team through to 1982, when the new and present BC Children’s Hospital opened.

Mavis taught me many things over the years. She taught me the importance of including all participants, implied or otherwise, in any personally produced medical paper. She taught me to never use the “Cancer” word, until the diagnosis is clear, and also to avoid outlining a specific treatment until the final pathology report is available. I learned all about cancer and medical quackery through Mavis.

Mavis was always thinking about her staff and patients’ well-being. For example, she hired Leora Kuttner, PhD, a full-time psychologist to research and develop a pain and anxiety program; she also arranged for Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross to provide a workshop for staff to educate them on the processes of death and dying; and, a true testament of her character, Mavis herself, even learned how to perform hypnosis.

There’s too much material to include here. I feel that the main focus for Mavis’s working life should be her early pioneering work in her main area of Oncology and the development of the UBC Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and BMT, a product of her hard work and dedication.

I shall miss her as a friend and a colleague, for whom I retain the greatest respect and admiration.

– David F Smith, MD, FRCP

“I owe Dr. Teasdale a lot. She had a huge impact on my work at BCCH and made it possible for me to develop my early pain management programs.”

– Leora  Kuttner, Ph.D

“She truly left an important legacy as the founder of pediatric hematology oncology in Vancouver.”

– Allison Eddy, MD, FRCP(C)

“Mavis is the “mother” of pediatric oncology in BC and her legacy lives on.”

– Caron Strahlendorf, MD, FRCP

“I have many memories of Mavis. She was the very dedicated  iron lady of pediatric oncology, in a good way. She certainly kept me on my toes when I returned from my fellowship in Cincinnati and became the sole pediatric tumor “expert”. She served the children very well.”

– Jim Dimmick, MD, FRCP

Memorial Service Information:

First Memorial Funeral Services – Vancouver
602 Kingsway Vancouver, BC V5T3K4
(604) 876-5585

A service will be held at St James Anglican Church, 303 E Cordova Street, Vancouver, at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 6. In her memory please consider a donation to the BC Children’s Hospital.

Obituary in the Vancouver Sun

Dr. William Arnold (July 10 1929 – July 20 2017)

Bill was a first class pediatrician, deeply committed to the care of his patients and families.  He graduated from the University of British Columbia medical school in 1955, and completed a rotating internship in London, Ontario before practicing as a family doctor in Prince Rupert from 1957 to 1965. He then completed his pediatric residency training at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City from 1965 to 1968 before returning to join Drs. Robert Maclean and Jack Whitelaw in general pediatric practice in Vancouver.  Inspired by what he had seen in New York, he established the first Canadian multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic in Vancouver and then served as medical director for 30 years.  He was the first Canadian member of the Society for Research in Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, and in the 1980’s Bill and David Shurtleff from Washington State worked together to establish  international myelomeningocele registry in Canada. This work contributed greatly to the academic contribution of the Society, which made important contributions to the infants and children affected by neural tube defects.  Bill will be remembered for his regular attendance at the Society’s annual meetings and his contributions to both the academic and social aspects of this Society.

Bill was appointed as the first head of the division of General Pediatrics at UBC, a role he filled for 10 years.  He was devoted throughout his career to the care and treatment of children with neural tube defects, and worked tirelessly on their behalf. In this role he was instrumental in fostering and nourishing the professional development of many students, residents, nurses and allied health colleagues from a variety of health disciplines.  He also served as president of the Vancouver Medical Association and the BCCH medical staff. He was tirelessly devoted to teaching, and was a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UBC.

Following his retirement from active clinical practice Bill led efforts to establish a spina bifida clinic in Guatemala, making numerous volunteer trips to that Central American country with his devoted wife Myrtle.  He also continued his role on the Boards of research and review committees of the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of BC and Canada and remained an active member over the years.  Sir William Osler said that “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease”. Bill was a truly great physician, always committed to the patient and their family.

There have been so many of us who have benefitted from Bill’s care but it is the infants, children and adults with spina bifida to whom he was especially committed. He was a clinical pioneer and the father of spinal bifida care in Canada, and the memory of his many contributions will be cherished.  There will be a celebration of Bill’s life in the end of September.


Dr. Paul Thiessen

Doug Cochrane, Chair & Provincial Patient Safety & Quality Officer

Beverly Irwin, BSN, RN Nurse Clinician in the Spinal Cord Program

Reprinted with permission.


Sheila Innis PREFERRED

Dr. Sheila Innis (June 19, 1953 – February 10, 2016)

We are deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Sheila Innis’ death on February 10, 2016. Originally from the UK, Dr. Innis was a highly respected Professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Nutrition & Metabolism Research Program at CFRI.

Dr. Innis was a tireless proponent of the nutritional needs of babies, children, expectant mothers and special populations including low weight infants and children with congenital diseases. She was at the forefront of informing national and international policy on nutrition and her research was internationally renowned.

As head of the Nutrition & Metabolism Research Program, Dr. Innis’ academic work was dedicated to pioneering research to solve real problems in how dietary components alone and in combination with genetic background or disease affect children in reaching their full potential for physical and cognitive development, as well as their susceptibility to chronic disease throughout the lifespan.

Dr. Innis’ many research accomplishments were considered a cornerstone of important new knowledge, spearheading novel avenues for understanding the link between diet and health. She had a long track record of contributions to national and international research networks ultimately improving dietary recommendations and practices, and clinical nutrition products. She established advanced metabolic profiling technologies at BC Children’s and conducted ground-breaking work on the effects of dietary fatty acids during pregnancy and infancy. She trained many researchers who today hold positions around the world.

In 2015, Dr. Innis was awarded the Geoffrey C. Robinson Award from the Canadian Pediatric Society in recognition of her outstanding contributions to child and youth health through research in the field of population health or health services research within the last five years.

Over the span of Dr. Innis’ illustrious career, her insights, knowledge development and research have and will continue to improve understanding the way nutrition and the health of neonates are linked for generations to come.

Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies are with Dr. Innis’ family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. She will be dearly missed.



Gordon Edward Pirie, MD, CM, FRCPC, CRCP (December 1, 2016)

Gordon passed away peacefully on December 1, 2016 surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean (née Nesbitt); sons Andrew (Colleen) and Jonathan (Nicole); sister Patricia; brothers Glen and Jack; and his many nieces and nephews. His grandchildren Michael, Katie, Matthew, Norah and Hazel will dearly miss their Grand-dad/Papa.



Dr. C.D. MacLean (née Catriona Dunella Pederson) (October 31, 1936 – December 23, 2015)

Born in Craigendoran, Scotland, December 23, 1928, Dr. Maclean Died in Victoria, BC, April 8, 2016. Dunella spent her childhood in Scotland, including three idyllic years on the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, before coming to Canada at age 16 in order to attend McGill University, where she attained the degrees of B.Sc. and M.D.C.M. She came to Vancouver in 1955 to continue her training in Paediatrics. The largest part of her medical career was spent at BC Children’s Hospital as head of the Hearing Disorders Program, from which she retired as Professor Emeritus, UBC. After her retirement she spent several years as a volunteer at Van Dusen Gardens. Since she retired, many parents have thanked her for her work in making sure that their children would find a good place in the world. Mourning her are her husband, Edmund; children Alan, Kenneth (Teresa), and Irene (Sandy Webster); and grandchildren Christine, Jens, Geoffrey, Cameron Webster, and Ryan Webster. Also mourning her is her sister Dr. Mairi Narod, who trained with her at McGill and who shared her dedication to medicine. Dunella spent the last 15 years on Mayne Island, which she called “a little bit of paradise” both for its closeness to nature and the warmth of its community, before she succumbed to dementia. Her family wishes to thank the very dedicated staff at The Heights at Mount View, Victoria, where she spent her last days. A Memorial Service will be announced later.

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Dr. Roger Tonkin (October 31, 1936 – December 23, 2015)

Roger died peacefully in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital surrounded by love. He showed strength and grace throughout his courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease, and that will remain a cherished and final gift for his family.

In life Roger was always willing to swim against the current, and until his death he remained authentic to his true nature, with humour and passion.

Roger received his medical degree from McGill University, and did his Pediatric residency at Montreal Children’s Hospital before joining the Department of Pediatrics at UBC in 1968.

Roger enjoyed a rich and varied medical career, with a special interest in adolescent medicine and eating disorders. He was an internationally recognized health visionary in standards of practice, curriculum development and research.

Roger received the Order of BC in 1998, and in 2010 the Canadian Pediatric Society honored him with Alan Ross Award, which recognizes lifelong excellence in the fields of pediatric research, education, healthcare and advocacy. His incomparable contributions to individual lives, to community and to society will always be remembered and paid forward for years to come.

Roger’s family was of paramount importance in his life, and he treasured time spent with each and every one of them. He is survived by his wife Carrol; children Lisa, Laurie (Dean), Lynn, Jon and Leanne; their mother Pat; stepchildren Lisa (Roy), Susan (Zen), Michael (Tracey) and Andrea (Michael); grandchildren Matthew, Olivia, Ian, Pearl, Caily, Isaac, Emily, Laura, Chloe and Charlie; sister Anne (Roger) and niece Meghan.

The family wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Steve Beerman for the exceptional care of Roger over the past several years. A family celebration of his life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers a donation to The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Foundation or BC Children’s Hospital Foundation would honour Roger.


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Dr. Brian Lupton (July 05, 1952 – December 19, 2015)

Dr. Brian Lupton passed away peacefully in North Vancouver on December 19, 2015 at the age of 63.

Brian will be deeply missed by his fiancée Susan Tolley, his daughters Keeva (Cameron) and Nareela, his sister Marjorie Glavin (Ronnie), friend and mother of their children Bonnie, and extended family and lifelong friends.

Brian was born in Northern Ireland and immigrated to Canada in the 1980’s. He dedicated his life to his work as a Neonatologist at BC Children’s Hospital in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Along with his passion for work, he was an avid runner, lover of music and books and lifelong traveler. Above all, he was an incredible father and friend.


Dr. Mason Christopher Bond (May 11, 1956 – July 13, 2013)

It is with heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Dr Mason Christopher Bond on Saturday, July 13, in Vancouver at the age of 57, surrounded by his loving family.

Mason was a gifted pediatric oncologist at BC Children’s Hospital, a cycling enthusiast, a music lover, a loving husband and father, and a wonderful, intelligent man. [MORE]