Obituary of Maureen Phyllis Briscoe
MAUREEN PHYLLIS BRISCOE, MD, FRCP(C) Paediatrics
It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Maureen Phyllis Briscoe, 87, of Kingston, Ontario, on June 2, 2022. Predeceased by her beloved husband, Dr. James Day and sister, Cynthia Lash, she is survived by her daughter Jennifer, son-in-law, Trevor, and cherished grandsons Aidan and Ryan Turnbull.
Maureen was born in Almonte, Ontario to John and Evelyn Briscoe (nee Hobbs) on May 27, 1935. She lived in Carleton Place until moving to Kingston in 1946, attending Victoria Public School and KCVI with direct entry into Queen’s Medicine as a McLeod & McLean Scholarship recipient. She spent many days and nights helping both her mother and father at Briscoe’s Pharmacy on Princess St., and her home on Victoria St. was a frequent spot for her classmates at Queen's to visit and enjoy her mother’s cooking. Maureen had a lifelong passion for music, earning her Associate Diploma (ARCT-Piano) from the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1956, eventually purchasing her long-awaited grand piano many decades later.
Maureen was a pioneer in Canadian health care, graduating from Queen’s University Faculty of Medicine in the class of 1959 as one of only two female graduates. She served Residencies in Pediatrics at Montreal General Hospital; Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Vancouver General Hospital; Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver, and Kingston General Hospital. As an Associate of the Child Health Program at Queen’s from 1965-1967, Maureen was proud to be an inaugural medical doctor participating in the Queen’s Moose Factory Program, a historic first agreement between Queen’s and the Federal Government developed to provide pediatric medical support to Moose Factory and the surrounding area. This association has expanded and continues to this day delivering healthcare to indigenous communities, known as the Queen's Weeneebayko Program.
Throughout the 1970’s Maureen worked jointly in the Allergy and Clinical Immunology department at KGH with her husband, fine tuning her clinical knowledge as a pediatrician to include allergic disease.
In 1981, Maureen established a clinical practice in Allergy that provided care to over 25,000 pediatric and adult patients. Maureen continued as a co-investigator in the Division of Allergy at KGH and helped develop the Environmental Exposure Unit as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine before retiring in 2008. Many residents in Eastern Ontario participated in the “Ragweed Studies” which were instrumental in providing controlled research environments leading to current antihistamine approvals. She co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and scientific presentations.
Maureen, like her husband Jim, cared deeply about nature conservation and she was a generous and caring steward of the land both in North Frontenac around Palmerston and Canonto Lakes, and her cottage and farm on Wolfe Island.
Maureen possessed an insatiable curiosity and remained a life-long learner as evidenced by her extensive libraries that reflected, among other things, her interests in classical piano music, Kingston-area history, genealogy, travel and her deep love of birds, flowers, and her garden. Within minutes of arrival at the cottage there would be a beautifully curated seasonal bouquet on the table.
Maureen will be remembered fondly as an inveterate organizer, researcher and decorator that strived to make her home, cottages, and garden as welcoming and fun as could be. She loved visits from her grandsons where they would explore the outdoors, birdwatch, make meals, play the piano, or just endlessly share stories and receive advice!
The family wishes to thank Bart Moodie and Bev Prokop for their years of friendship, love, and kindness.
A service of remembrance will be held in Kingston this fall. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund would be welcome.