Dr Klara Patriasz

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53, No. 2, March 2011, Page 90 Obituaries

A remarkable woman, our friend and colleague Dr Klara Patriasz died in her home on 30 November. She was 97 years old.

Portrait of Dr. Klara Patriasz


A remarkable woman, our friend and colleague Dr Klara Patriasz died in her home on 30 November. She was 97 years old.

Her life was shaped by forces of history, and she faced all events with indomitable courage. Klara graduated from Pazmany Peter University in Budapest in 1937 and obtained her specialty in pediatrics in December 1941, the worst possible time for a young Jewish physician. 

All her life she gratefully remembered her teacher, Professor Geza Petenyi, who made it possible for her to work, although un­officially and without pay. Professor Petenyi is numbered among the Righteous Gentiles in Israel. 

In 1944 when Hungarian Jews were rounded up for transports, Klara said, “I decided not to go.” There followed a time of hiding and weeks of starvation while the eastern front was crossing the region.

After the war Klara was reunited with her husband, and she resumed pediatric practice. In 1957 they emigrated with their three daughters, and with Klara’s mother, to Israel. Klara practised pediatrics in Nazareth, caring both for Jewish and Arab children. When the family decided to move to North America, Klara performed the unbelievable feat of writing the then-necessary ECFMG test without any preparation—at the age of 50. Her friends gave her a card saying, “Sometimes in error, never in doubt.” She kept the card.

In Vancouver Klara did her internship in Shaughnessy, Grace, and St. Paul’s Hospitals and passed her LMCC in 1966. She worked in Woodlands until her retirement.

Her passion was children. She saw in them a continuation of life. All her friends—and she had many—had to bring children to her; she asked for their pictures and their stories, remembered them all and had their pictures in well-organized albums. 

Klara’s other passion was hiking. The extent of her love of nature and her “mind over matter” attitude is best illustrated by the fact that she hiked to Garibaldi Lake (18 km round trip, 1000 m elevation) at the age of 86. As she grew older, she still hiked every week. 

In the last several years of her life she enjoyed a weekly stroll with friends around VanDusen Botanical Garden, in spite of several strokes and almost complete deafness. Her mind remained strong and fully aware until the end.

It is hard to comprehend that this benevolent presence is not here anymore.
—Stanislava Jurenka, MD
North Vancouver

Stanislava Jurenka, MD,. Dr Klara Patriasz. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 2, March, 2011, Page(s) 90 - Obituaries.

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