In Memoriam

The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine notes with sorrow the recent passing of the following members of the rehabilitation medicine family (based on information received from friends and family).

  • Amber Shurb-Beach

    The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine remembers Amber Shurb-Beach (SLP '16)

    Amber’s friends, family and the speech-language pathology class of 2016 are organizing a donation to support the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Camp in her memory. More...

  • Barrie Pickles

    In Memoriam: Barrie Pickles (BScPT ’70) 1932–2017 

    The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine family remembers Mr. Barrie Pickles of Kingston, Ontario, who passed away on July 7, 2017.

    Barrie was part of a number of firsts for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine during his early career.

    He was among the first graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy program at the U of A School of Rehabilitation Medicine, after its diploma program was replaced by a degree program in 196970.

    Barrie served as Head of the Physical Therapy Division in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy from 1975 to 1976. He was a strong supporter of the program's development and transition from a school to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine with three distinct departments, and was appointed the first Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy (197679) when the school gained faculty status.

    Barrie made significant contributions to rehabilitation medicine in Canada. After the University of Alberta, Barrie moved to Queen's University in Kingston, where he became the third Director of Rehabilitation Medicine. The U of A Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine family sends our condolences to Barrie’s family and friends.

    Barrie Pickle's obituary.

  • Benita Fifield

    Benita Fifield: Remembering an educator, innovator, mentor, pioneer and philanthropist

    Fifield made lasting contributions to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. More...

  • Dianna Mah-Jones

    Remembering Dianna Mah-Jones (DipOT ’72, BScOT ‘79)

    The occupational therapy communities in Alberta, BC, and indeed, across the country, are shocked by the tragic deaths of Dianna Mah-Jones, and her husband Richard Jones on September 26, 2017 in their Vancouver home.

    Dianna was an alumna of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. She earned her diploma in occupational therapy in 1972, followed by her bachelor of science degree in occupational therapy in 1979. Subsequently, she completed a master’s degree in health administration at Central Michigan University.

    She was an exemplar of a caring health professional, extraordinary mentor to students and other occupational therapists, a passionate lifelong learner and a colleague who generously shared her time, expertise and energy. Her contributions have been recognized in numerous ways, including, most recently, the Outstanding Occupational Therapist award from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists - British Columbia in 2015, and she was named the Vancouver Coastal Health and Provincial Health Care Hero in June 2017.

    As a long-standing occupational therapist at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Dianna continued to serve as a preceptor for occupational therapy students at the University of Alberta. She was committed to providing continuing professional education and workshops to practitioners in occupational therapy and physical therapy, and to students. Her workshops extended to her alma mater where she offered generous gift certificates that would allow University of Alberta students to attend her workshops.

    Dianna's dedication to her clients, students, and colleagues made her a positive force people gravitated to. She was approachable, and welcomed challenges with optimism. The Department of Occupational Therapy extends sincere condolences to the family of Dianna Mah-Jones, and to all individuals whose lives she touched.

    “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Dianna and her husband. On behalf of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, my condolences to her family, friends and colleagues,” said Dean Bob Haennel.

    The Dianna Mah-Jones Memorial Fund has been created in Diana's name to support the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Online donations to the Memorial Fund can be made at

    Under "Would you like to direct your gift to an area not listed?" click on the green “+" and enter "Dianna Mah-Jones Memorial Fund" as the name of area.

    Read Dianna's obituary.

    Dianna's family is organizing a memorial service (Celebration of Life) for Dianna and her husband. 

    Central Lions Recreation Centre, Atrium
    11113-113 Street, Edmonton
    Sunday, November 19, 2017
    3:00-5:00 p.m.

  • Jennifer Lynn Smith
    In Memoriam: Jennifer Lynn Smith (MScSLP ’94) 1965–2017

    Submitted by Jennifer's family and friends

    Having squeezed every precious moment out of life that she could, Jennifer Lynn Smith passed away July 9, 2017, aged 52.

    Jennifer was born February 2, 1965 and grew up in Winnipeg. During her school years, Jennifer made many friendships which became life-long. Jennifer graduated from Kelvin High School (1983), then the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (1988). She studied Speech-Language Pathology at the University of North Dakota (1991-1992), followed by her Master of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Alberta (1992-1994). Jennifer was in the first Master of Speech-Language Pathology class at the University of Alberta; it was a close-knit and special group from across Canada. Jennifer brought her humour, intellect, warmth, friendship, balance and creativity to the program. She also contributed a sense of adventure, having sky-dived with other Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine students! The class was truly enriched by her presence.

    Following graduation, Jennifer worked at the Child Guidance Clinic (St. Vital School Division) in Winnipeg, until January 1995. She and her young family moved to Dryden Ontario where she worked for the Dryden School Board from January 1995 until September 1997. Jennifer then re-joined the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg, which had become part of the Louis Riel School Division.

    Jennifer’s colleagues in the Clinical Service Unit remember her as an outstanding speech-language pathologist who was an important addition to Louis Riel School Division. Her professionalism and expertise were highly valued by those who worked closely with her over the years.

    Colleagues appreciated Jennifer’s willingness to share information, her creativity, initiative and hard work. Jennifer was a leader within the team of speech-language pathologists, often gently reminding her colleagues to write recommendations for teachers that were practical and curriculum related. Jennifer continually encouraged them to pick the 'top three' recommendations rather than overwhelming busy staff.

    Through her daily interactions, Jennifer showed a deep commitment to the staff and students in her schools. She worked hard to fulfil her students’ needs, whether it be through reports, material preparation, consultation, workshops or parent meetings. Jennifer’s warmth and kindness brought out the best in the many students and teachers she interacted with during her busy days. She was well respected and had an excellent rapport with children.

    Jennifer was a pioneer in working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, utilizing “Social Thinking” programming. She kept up with current research and practices to develop the most effective and appropriate programming for this growing population. Her knowledge and experience established her as a leader in the development and use of a new social communication assessment tool and complex programming for students with social challenges. Colleagues appreciated Jennifer’s knowledge and expertise with respect to socially challenged students. Despite her heavy workload, Jennifer always made time to consult with colleagues.

    Her Louis Riel School Division colleagues appreciated all the important and meaningful contributions that Jennifer provided to staff, students and families. Jennifer’s extensive knowledge, quiet persistence and gentle demeanor have inspired many teachers and colleagues.

    Jennifer is deeply missed by her partner of 34 years and husband of 26 years, Christopher Pate, her children Dylan and Nicole, as well as family and many friends.
  • Lorraine Wylie
    In Memoriam: Lorraine Wylie (BScSPA ’76, MScSLP ‘99) 1954-2017

    The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine family remembers Mrs. Lorraine (Cowie) Wylie who passed away on September 21, 2017, due to complications of frontal temporal degeneration/dementia.

    Lorraine was an alumna of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology in 1976, and returning to complete a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology in 1999.

    After graduation, she worked as a speech-language pathologist for 37 years, first at the Glenrose Hospital, then the City of Edmonton Board of Health and finally at the Grey Nuns Hospital for 26 years.

    Lorraine was a huge supporter of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine’s speech-language pathology program, providing annual lectures for the students and offering her time and guidance to students through clinical placements.

    She was a recipient of the Alberta Rehabilitation Coordinating Council’s Supervisor of the Year award in 2007, and provided more clinical placements for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders than any other educator.

    Lu-Anne McFarlane, associate professor and academic coordinator of clinical education for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, worked closely with Lorraine.

    “I estimate that Lorraine worked with 60 students during her years as a speech-language pathologist. It is a testament to her commitment to the profession and her skills as a clinical teacher. No other SLP clinician has been involved with that number of students and I expect the number will never be topped,” said McFarlane.

    “Lorraine also contributed a seminar in my spring course each year. Students referred to these presentations as inspiring and ‘life altering.’ It is not possible to overstate the contributions she made to the profession through her caring clinical work and her role as a mentor to students.”

    The U of A Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine family sends our condolences to Lorraine’s family and friends.

    Read Lorraine Wylie’s obituary.
  • Marcy Lynn McCaw (Heschuk)

    In Memoriam: Marcy Lynn McCaw (Heschuk) (BScPT ’95, BPE ‘96) 1971–2017

    The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine remembers Mrs. Marcy Lynn McCaw (nee Heschuk) who passed away on July 7, 2017 at the age of 46.

    Read Marcy’s obituary.

    Marcy was an alumna of the University of Alberta’s Faculties of Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Education and Recreation, and a Panda’s athlete. She positively impacted many lives through her career as a physical therapist.

    The UAlberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine family sends our condolences to Marcy’s family and friends.

    A Memorial Fund has been created in her name to support a student award in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Online donations to the Memorial Fund can be made at

    In the “Direct my donation to” area, enter the donation amount in the “An area not listed” box; in the tab labelled, “Would you like to direct your gift to an area not listed?” please click on the green “+” to expand the area and enter “Marcy Lynn McCaw (Heschuk) Memorial Fund” as the name of the area.

  • Sabine Liselotte Reich

    Sabine Liselotte Reich BSc(PT) '71

    Sabine Liselotte Reich of Edmonton, Alberta passed away in November 2016. 

  • Sylvia Helen Lofto

    Remembering Sylvia Helen Lofto: April 21, 1942 - February 9, 2017

    Sylvia Helen Lofto was born on Apr. 21, 1942. 

    Her career at the University of Alberta spanned several decades in the Departments of Zoology, Materials Management, and Occupational Therapy.

    Sylvia joined the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine's Department of Occupational Therapy as an Executive Assistant in 1985. She was a vital and major contributor to the design of the Department's administrative infrastructure during its significant growth period in the mid-1980's.  

    Her logistical prowess and coordination oversaw the timetabling, budgeting and offering of the accelerated program, and the initiation of the country's first Master in Occupational Therapy. She also played a vital role in the remodeling of Corbett Hall upon further departmental expansion. Within the University, she was a strong advocate for the Department and its programs.

    Sylvia, who retired from the University of Alberta in 2001, will be remembered for her integrity by those who worked closely with her.