Dr Alice P. “Teddy” Suiker, 1927–2014

portrait of the late Alice Teddy
Dr Suiker’s travel-filled life began at an early age. The year after Alice was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Suiker family immigrated to Canada on the RMS Alaunia, arriving in Quebec and traveling by train to Vancouver. The household expanded to include six lively younger sisters and one brother. With hard work and plenty of fun and adventure, Alice completed high school and then her BSc degree through the University of British Columbia and Brigham Young University. She then joined the bone metabolism laboratory of physiologist Dr Harold Copps, who astutely recognized Alice’s abilities and potential and encouraged her to enter the UBC Faculty of Medicine in 1957.

Dr Suiker’s career in family medicine took her to Kitimat, where she met the love of her life, Matt Gooding, and inherited 3 children and eventually enjoyed 30 nieces and nephews. Moves then occurred to St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, and later to Montreal, where Dr Suiker became an assistant professor at the McGill Faculty of Medicine. In 1977 the family moved to Thetis Island, BC, and Alice joined the Cowichan medical community as its first female practitioner. For the last 15 years of her career, Dr Suiker served in Native and remote settlements in Fort Nelson, Slocan, Dease Lake, Barriere, and Mistissini on James Bay, finally retiring in 2012 at the age of 85 years.

Although she was a deeply private person, Alice always revealed her cheerful, positive demeanor. A loyal and supportive colleague, she offered her patients exemplary care and brought an infectious sense of enthusiasm to her profession. As one of her close friends stated, “I think she really loved being a doctor.” She was known for her hugs and greetings of “Hi-ya, Hon!” Indeed, she had a wonderful, generous character.

Thirty years ago, in the era when the Union Club in Victoria was an all-male bastion, a few male physician buddies (of questionable reputation) secreted Alice into the Great Snooker Room where, after a few games and refreshments, it was decided that it would be remiss to not record the historic occasion, so Alice printed the words “ALICE WAS HERE” on one of the old English oak support timbers in pink cue chalk. We are told that it remains to this day.
—Donald R. Hilton, MD, FRCPC

Donald R. Hilton, MD, FRCPC. Dr Alice P. “Teddy” Suiker, 1927–2014. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 1, January, February, 2016, Page(s) 37 - Obituaries.

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