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Obituary

ISABEL EDITH (GILLESPIE) WYATT (published on March 06, 2010)



ISABEL EDITH (GILLESPIE) WYATT Born February 16, 1911, Isabel Edith Wyatt peacefully passed away in the comfort of her home on February 28, 2010. She was the eldest in a family of six children of Robert and Anne (Munroe) Gillespie. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, she spoke of her happy childhood in the 20s, gathering crocuses with her siblings in the spring, camping with Girl Guides, and spending summers at Lake Winnipeg. She earned her nursing degree from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and was assistant head nurse at the Montreal Neurological Institution. During the Second World War, she worked with Dr. William Penfield at the Canadian Neurosurgical center near Basingstoke England. Promoted to Captain, she was sent into action on the continent. In late 1944 prior to an imminent major battle, she established the largest tent hospital in Bayeau France. She spoke of the challenges in moving this field hospital due to its size and needing to restore utilities as the retreating German army devastated everything in their wake. She married Major John P. Wyatt of Winnipeg, pathologist-in-chief of the 10th General Hospital and consultant in neuropathology to the 21st Army Group. After the war, King George awarded her the Order First Class of the Red Cross for her bravery and courage during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, John and Isabel settled in Boston, Massachusetts where John completed graduate studies in pathology at the Harvard Medical School under his second Banting Fellowship. His first fellowship was interrupted when he volunteered to serve with the Canadian pathological unit during the war. Isabel had their first child, Charles, in Boston and the next three children, Gordon, Philip, and Barbara in St. Louis, Missouri, where John was the Professor of Pathology at the University of Missouri. Every summer, John and Isabel drove the family from Missouri to Ontario for a Canadian summer hiatus at Lake of the Woods. In 1964, John, Isabel, and their children returned to Winnipeg when John accepted a position as Head of Pathology at the University of Manitoba. In 1974, John and Isabel moved to Lexington, Kentucky where John worked as Director of the new Tobacco and Health Institute. On John's passing, Isabel retired to Toronto. Her husband, son Gordon, and her four siblings preceded Isabel in death. She is survived by a sister, Kay Gillespie, three children, Charles Wyatt of Toronto, Philip Wyatt of North York, ON and his wife Sharon Parker, and Barbara Wyatt of Lakewood, WA and her husband Linn Larsen, and seven grandchildren living in Canada, United States, India and South Africa. The family would like to give special thanks to Monica Porteous for her loving care and attention over the past twenty years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the John P. Wyatt M.D. Travelling Foundation, University of Kentucky, which provides fellowships to UK scientists for the purpose of studying and disseminating information related to environmentally caused diseases.


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