It is with profound sadness that we write of the sudden and unexpected death of a long-time friend and colleague, Dr Patricia Mark. Paddy was born in Ballyshannon, Northern Ireland, in 1941. She graduated in medicine from Trinity College. She met her husband, Mark Nixon, in 1966. They emigrated to Canada in 1967 and married in 1971. They subsequently moved to Vancouver Island where Paddy practised full-service family medicine and Mark joined the department of anesthesia. She enjoyed a long and successful career as a family physician and as one of the founding practitioners of the Sow’s Ear Medical Clinic in Lantzville, BC. She very proudly practised in a full-service capacity and never shied away from challenging situations. She excelled in roles as a teacher, mentor, medical leader, and advocate, always with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of mental and physical energy. During all of this she and Mark found time to raise a wonderful family.
Paddy was a tireless advocate for those at risk. She undertook the challenging task of addiction management medicine and worked in the corrections system, taking on new responsibility there even in her final days. She practised with great empathy, always to the benefit of her patients.
Paddy extended this empathy to friends of the four-legged variety as well. She was an enthusiastic supporter and fundraiser for the BC SPCA, and her Nanoose Bay house was always home to several dogs, all of whom were adopted or rescued, sometimes from very unpleasant situations. Her annual sales drive for SPCA calendars was one of the year’s salient events.
Paddy and Mark have been avid and very skilled gardeners, and those of us fortunate enough to know them were frequent visitors to their sprawling world-class rhododendron garden. Many of her friends developed a serious interest in gardening as a benefit of their friendship. They would never hesitate to share their expert advice, not to mention seedlings cuttings and full-grown plants.
For many years, the two hosted a large garden party for the medical staff and friends in their beautiful garden, a highlight on everyone’s calendar. Family members and friends would contribute time and effort to hull strawberries, slice buns, and provide oven space for cooking turkeys and hams. In her usual firm manner, Paddy would recruit the surgeons to carve the meat; the occasional misguided soul considered declining, albeit briefly.
Paddy was also an accomplished writer and historian, another interest that those who shared it found tremendously beneficial. Her suggestions and insights would have expanded personal libraries of military history books significantly. She never tired of discussing the topic over a glass of wine.
Paddy leaves behind a devastated family: husband, Mark Nixon; daughters, Ruth and Sarah (Jesse Capon); stepchildren, Clare McQuaid (Rick) and Paul (Iris); grandchildren, Hannah Nixon, Gillian Nixon, Clementine Nixon, Georgia Nixon, Elliot Capon, Luke McQuaid, and Emma McQuaid. She was predeceased by her stepson, Adam. A wide circle of friends, colleagues, patients, and animals also mourn her sudden passing.
The Irish saying “For evil to succeed, it requires only that good men do nothing” was one of her favorites. It exemplifies her credo. Godspeed dear friend.
—John Whitelaw, MD
—Blair Rudston-Brown, MD
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