Dr Marianne Russell, 1963–2020

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 62 , No. 9 , November 2020 , Pages 348 Obituaries

Dr Marianne Russell

After a 16-year courageous battle with breast cancer, Marianne left the world on her own terms peacefully at the Henrico Doctors’ Hospital on Wednesday, 26 August 2020, at 1:30 a.m. with her family by her side.

Born 3 August 1963 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she was the daughter of the late Thomas and Josephine (McEachern) Russell. Surviving Marianne is her wife, Joy Russell; children, Hannah and Ryan; and her beloved dog, Griffin. Marianne was compassionate and devoted to her profession, touching many lives, and she left a deep impression on those for whom she cared.

Marianne began her university training as a biochemistry major in 1981 at the University of Saskatchewan. She attended medical school at the University of Saskatchewan Faculty of Medicine from 1983–88, obtaining her medical doctorate with distinction. After her rotating internship at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Marianne did locum and emergency room work in Saint John, Greater Toronto, Regina, and Vernon. In 1991–92, Marianne completed her first year of a pathology residency before deciding to focus on a career in family medicine. After long-term locum work in Swift Current and Enderby, Marianne settled into a full-service family practice in Westbank (now known as West Kelowna) with active privileges at Kelowna General Hospital from 1994–2003.

In 2003 she relocated to practise in Coquitlam until 2014, and then moved her practice to East Burnaby and subsequently to New Westminster. She was first diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2004, but continued to work part-time through her initial treatment. She resumed full-time practice in 2005 and continued caring for patients, teaching residents and medical students, and maintaining associate privileges at Royal Columbian Hospital until taking a medical leave in 2016 with her first recurrence of breast cancer. Marianne was a clinical instructor from 2009 to 2014 in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia. In 2010, Marianne decided she wanted to fulfill her goal of certification with the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and following the completion of her practice eligibility requirements, she successfully took the CCFP certification examination.

After relocating to Virginia in 2017 with her wife and kids, she obtained certification as a North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Practitioner in May of that year. Marianne was able to resume part-time practice after obtaining licensure in Virginia in January 2018 until 2019, when she was unable to continue due to complications of her cancer and treatment.

As with many transplanted Saskatchewanians, Marianne remained a staunch member of Rider Nation, supporting her home team throughout her life. Wearing green in a sea of orange at games in Vancouver, her cheers were heard by all around.

Marianne was beloved and well respected by her patients, students, friends, family, and colleagues. She will be forever missed and always in our hearts. A celebration of Marianne’s life will be held in British Columbia at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Marianne’s family would ask for donations to be made to CancerLINC or the Canadian Cancer Society.
—Cathy Clelland, MD
Maple Ridge

Cathy Clelland, MD. Dr Marianne Russell, 1963–2020. BCMJ, Vol. 62, No. 9, November, 2020, Page(s) 348 - Obituaries.



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