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ROBERT HENRY THORLAKSON (published on February 28, 2011)

ROBERT HENRY THORLAKSON OC, CD, MD, FRCS, FRCSC, FACS, KSrJ, KLJ November 27, 1923 - February 23, 2011 Robert passed away at home with his wife. Predeceased by his parents, Dr. P.H.T. Thorlakson and Gladys Thorlakson and parents-in-law Charles and Adeline Bemben. He is survived by his wife Deborah, sister Tannis Richardson (George), twin brother Ken (Lorna), nephew Hartley Richardson (Heather), Dr. Derek Thorlakson (Katherine), Dr. Ian Thorlakson (Kristi) and Trish Loewen (Michael) of Winnipeg, David Richardson (Pam), of Vancouver, Karen Somers of Victoria and several great-nieces and nephews. Robert was born and raised in Winnipeg and attended both primary and secondary school here. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Manitoba and then went to England to do post graduate work in surgery. Upon his return to Canada in 1956 he began his practice at the Winnipeg Clinic where he continued to work until his death. Robert was a distinguished colorectal surgeon and associate professor of surgery. He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal Society of Medicine (London), the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Past President of American College of Surgeons, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and Founding Fellow and Past President of the Cdn. Society of Colon Rectal Surgeons. Aside from his professional achievements, Robert was an active community leader and served on the executive of many organizations. He was a Founder and Past President of Manitoba Opera, Founder and Past President of Opera West, Founder and Past President of the Federation of Professional Opera Companies of Canada, Founder and Past President of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, Chair of the Building Committee and Fund Raising Committee of the Chinese Cultural and Community Centre of MB, and first recipient of their Golden Dragon Award, Past Provincial Commissioner and Past President of St. John Ambulance and Past Vice-President of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Robert also served on the board of the Manitoba Theater Centre, Winnipeg Habitat for Humanity, the Leo Mol Gardens, and the Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada. Robert was a Second World War Veteran, graduate of King's Navel College, and retired Surgeon Commander in the Naval Reserves. Robert received an number of national honors including the Canadian Forces Decoration, Centennial, Silver, and Golden Jubilee Medals. He is a Knight of Justice of the Order of St. John and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Robert was a true Renaissance Man' and had an eclectic knowledge base. It was hard to find a subject he didn't know something about. He loved art and music and was an avid reader. He was a prolific writer, published over 80 surgical articles and travelled extensively in his younger years presenting papers. He had an extensive knowledge of Heraldry and designed Coats of Arms' for a number of organizations. He loved his home in Headingley and working on the land and over the 40 years he lived there, enjoyed the fruits of his labour. Robert always said it's better to be lucky than good. We were both lucky to have found each other and shared so many amazing years together. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed. Sleep well sweet prince, until we meet again. A private memorial service will take place. In lieu of flowers donations to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Opera or Headingley Municipal Library would be greatly appreciated.

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