We are honored and privileged to write a memorial for Annette Hacking at the request of her family. Annette died quietly and with great dignity at the Palliative Care Unit of St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, after a long and courageous fight with cancer, and leaves behind a loving family and many colleagues, friends, and patients who grieve her passing. She lived her life with gusto and a remarkable enthusiasm to the very end.
Annette’s path to psychiatry was circuitous—after graduating UBC Medicine-1985, and interning at Dalhousie, she did two years in pathology before deciding that talking to live people was more her forte. Annette became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (psychiatry) in 1992 after completing her psychiatry residency at UBC. In a logic that was uniquely hers, Annette always saw this transition as natural and seamless.
Annette’s professionalism, commitment, and hard work were accompanied by steadfast, unvarying patience, compassion, and good humor. Her resilient, positive outlook was famous (if not at times notorious!). Highly respected by colleagues and patients at Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant/Midtown Mental Health, she balanced her public service with private practice, where she delivered care to those with serious psychological illnesses.
Annette had a remarkably rich life outside medicine. She was passionate about the underwater world. Along with her dive-buddy family she traveled to many sites local and distant, and was fond of describing herself as equally and at times preferably a citizen of the submarine world. This tiny, petite woman blithely swam with manta rays and sharks in settings that would daunt most of us. She was a qualified dive master and loved to teach; so reflective of her generosity.
Annette’s creativity was reflected in her home: marine and submarine themes abounded—by her hand and others—trompe d’oeil of beaches with sand and shells; a hand-sculpted mermaid; stained glass creations; beachcombing finds and maritime-themed chatchkas complemented an ever-growing collection of sophisticated bronzes, something she described as an entirely justifiable if not wonton luxury. It all worked so well together—precisely managed with an eye to detail more typical of a marine architect (something her friends often felt she aspired to).
Annette led a unique life, famously independent, self-directed and strong-willed, balanced by her abiding optimism, generosity, and great good humor. She was an admirable model, has left an indelible impression, and is greatly missed.
—Michael Cook, MD
—Elisabeth Zoffmann, MD
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