In Celebration of
March 24, 1960 -
June 20, 2018
Dr Linda Kathleen Panaro MDCM (McGill’85) MHSc (Toronto ’88) FRCPC
March 24, 1960 - June 20, 2018
Dr Linda Panaro embraced life fully. Her untimely death, although not unexpected, was sudden at age 58 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (Neuro ACU).
Forever loved by husband Roman Tykajlo, mother Doreen and siblings Mary (Graham), Dan (Carol) and Jim. Predeceased by father Raphael. Mourned by nieces (Joclyn, Jaclyn), grand-niece Charlotte, nephews (Tyler, Justin), and countless friends, professional colleagues and admirers.
Not surprisingly, the precocious 8-year old who dissected squirrels, frogs and fish in Pincourt, QC, blossomed into a surgical resident at McGill University. Describing her as multidimensional is an understatement. Linda “collected experiences like beads on a necklace”, was a voracious reader, creative stitcher, astute animal tracker, avid gardener, feng shui master, zumba practitioner, lover of nature, animals, history, Chinese culture, poetry, haiku, theatre, ballet, football, opera, Shakespeare, and stand-up comedy to name just a few. She could as easily mimic Monty Python as quote passages from obscure 15th century texts.
Linda approached the challenge of her ALS diagnosis with the same clinical rigour that she applied throughout her accomplished career which included positions as Associate Medical Officer of Health in Kingston and in Durham Regions; Program Director, Canadian Field Epidemiology Program, Health Canada (People Management Merit Award 2005); and Public Health Medical Advisor, Correctional Services Canada (Commissioner’s Commendation Award 2015, since renamed “Dr Linda Panaro Commissioner’s Commendation Award”).
She soared in supervising field epidemiologists investigating the largest, deadliest and most perplexing outbreaks in Canada. Also, as assistant professor at the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa and at Queens University, Linda was an inspiring teacher and mentor to cohorts of physician epidemiologists, residents and graduate students.
Linda’s life objective was to “die wise” and she continually queried how her ALS journey might contribute to that goal. She reminded us that “sometimes things happen in our lives which no one can explain.” Typical of her inquiring yet spiritual mind, she added “This must be a cosmic koan: why a woman whose whole life was about independence and internal locus of control gets an illness that forces dependency. Dependency, maybe. Despondency, never.”
Linda - “epidoc”, ALS outlier, our indomitable force of nature and epitome of “best friend” – fought fiercely and successfully to stay independent. She did not lose the “essence of Linda”. She continues to inspire us with her strength, dignity, grace, and humour in the face of life’s unfair twist of fate.
A Celebration of Life - and Linda was adamant that this be a celebration - will be held in the Sacred Space at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Ave., Ottawa, ON K1L 8A6 on Friday July 13, 2018. Visitation 1-3pm with Celebration of Life Service at 3pm, followed by reception.
As if Linda had planned it, the Company of Fools will be performing Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at 7 pm following the reception on the grounds of Beechwood Cemetery. In tribute to Linda, we encourage everyone to join family and friends in enjoying the performance (admission by pass the hat pay-what-you-will donation: (fools.ca). "Bring a lawn chair or blanket, bug spray, picnic and your sense of humour."
Per Linda’s request, in lieu of flowers please consider donations to ALS Canada, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Hospice Care Ottawa, or a charity of your choice.