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"KOV" 2008 Obituary


KOVACH  KOVACS  KOVALENKO  KOVAR  KOVEN  KOVES 

KOVACH o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-05-13 published
MEADEN, James Douglas " Jim"
Passed away at Guelph general Hospital on Friday, May 9, 2008 at the age of 59, due to a massive stroke. A wonderful man, who endured many medical problems with perseverance while maintaining a positive attitude. Beloved husband of Judy KOVACH. Dear brother of Cathie MEADEN (John KEEP (deceased) and Laurie MEADEN (Michael CHAPUT.) Sadly missed by his in-laws Ron and Margo KOVACH, Paul and Linda SHERVILL and Julie KOVACH. Predeceased by his parents James MEADEN and Marjorie MEADEN (ADAM/ADAMS.) Fondly remembered by many Friends and other relatives. Good bye dear Jamie.

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KOVACS o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-04-10 published
KOVACS, Joan (née PRENSLER)
Peacefully on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer surrounded by her family at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, age 82, Joan beloved wife of the late Frank KOVACS. Loving mother and mother-in-law of Barbara and her husband Allen and Mark and his wife Emily. Dear sister and sister-in-law of the late Doug PRENSLER and Betty, sister-in-law of Mary and the late Hugh BREMNER, and June and the late Lew KOVACS. Devoted grandmother of Briana, Lauren and Ryan. Joan will be remembered especially for her elegant style, her quick wit and her fun-loving nature. Joan was a woman who cared deeply for all her family and Friends. She will be sorely missed. No words can express our loss. Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all the wonderful staff at Palliative Care, Sunnybrook Hospital for their outstanding care and devotion. In keeping with her wishes, cremation has taken place. Private interment at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. A reception to celebrate Joan's life will be held 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15 at Market Square, 80 Front Street East, Toronto. In Memoriam donations to Sunnybrook Hospital or Princess Margaret Hospital would be greatly appreciated.

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KOVACS o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-04-19 published
KOVACS, Pat
In loving memory of a dear Mother and Grandma, who passed away suddenly on April 19, 2004. Deeply loved and sadly missed by Gordon, Susan and Julia.

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KOVACS o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-06-28 published
BESTALL, Stephanie Anna (née DOMAGALY)
Stephanie passed away at home in London, Ontario on June 26, 2008, loving her husband Pat "til the 12th of never" and very proud of her son Sean. Born in Munich, Germany August 17, 1947. Married in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on September 17, 1965 to W. Patrick BESTALL, son of the late Clare BESTALL and Al BESTALL who started CKCY radio and the world's first phone in talk show. She never stopped praying with love for her now deceased parents Anne KOVACS and Zoltan KOVACS, (of whom she was so proud for his success as father and active member of the community) for her brothers and sisters, still living, Mark CHOJNOWSKI, Leon CHOJNOWSKI, Stanley CHOJNOWSKI, Gabriel GARNISS, Susan WEIGAL and "Toots" KOVACS; and finally for her aunt in Calgary Maggie GENNINGS. She wanted us to remember her great affection for her uncle Dirk, her nieces Lori and Cathy, "mom Vi" and Art, and for Friends of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in London ("Cathy the best thing you ever gave me was godchildren"). During her last days of suffering from cancer, Stephanie said she hoped all the foster children she cared for since 1976 will be as blessed as she was by a Heavenly Father who doesn't know the meaning of defeat. Memorial visitation will be held on Sunday, June 29, 2008 from 7: 00-9:00 p.m. at the Westview Funeral Chapel, 709 Wonderland Rd. North, with prayers at 7: 30 p.m. A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Monday, June 30, 2008 at 10: 30 a.m. at St. Andrew the Apostle, corner of Fallons Lane and Huron St. (the round church east of Highbury), followed by a reception at the church. Private family burial at Woodland Cemetery. Donations in lieu of flowers to the St. Vincent de Paul Society to which Stephanie gave love, time and hope. Online condolences accepted at condolences@westviewfuneralchapel.com

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KOVACS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-03-05 published
KOVACS, William James " Bill"
Passed away peacefully at Saint Michael's Hospital on March 3, 2008. Dearly loved by all of his family and Friends. Visitation will be held on March 5, 2008 from 2-4 and 7-9 from the Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home and Chapel, 467 Sherbourne St. (south of Wellesley). A Funeral Mass will take place at Saint Michael's Cathedral Church on March 6, 2008 at 10 a.m. Interment at Mount Hope Cemetery.

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KOVACS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-04-05 published
törei TOTH, Laszlo (1917-2008)
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, relative and friend, törei TOTH Laszlo passed away in Newmarket, Ontario in the early morning on March 26, 2008 in his 91st year from the consequences of a heart attack in January. Mourning him are his wife KOVACS Clara 'Kari' and children Kathy and her husband Richard KUMPULA of Newmarket, Susan and her husband Charles WEST of Pincher Creek, Alberta and Tom and his wife Sandra BARRON of Brock Township. He will be sadly missed by his grandchildren: Ilona and Julia KUMPULA; Stephen, Charlotte, Thomas and Peter WEST; Jessica, Nicholas, Andrea, Mathew, Mitchell, Wesley, Madeline and Katie TOTH; and by his niece and nephew Nadine STRUB and Paul HELBLING of Switzerland. He is predeceased by his sister Nadine HELBLING and nephew Alex HELBLING. Born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of Doctor törei TOTH Laszlo and Eleod Ilona, he was a graduate of the Pallag Agricultural College in Debrecen. During World War 2 he served valiantly as an Officer in the Hungarian Royal Cavalry and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Siberia. Laszlo and Clara were married in 1949 and came to Canada as refugees. Since 1953 they have lived in Newmarket where they owned and managed the award-winning Carlissa Jersey Herd and were well-known members of the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club. Laszlo loved to travel and to visit his relatives and Friends in Europe, Canada and the United States. He was a most considerate host to everyone who came for a visit or for a longer stay. Friends are invited to join the family in remembering Laszlo on Sunday, May 4, 2008 at Madsens Greenhouse, 160 Bayview Parkway (north of Davis Drive) in Newmarket from 2 to 5 p.m. Laszlo will be buried beside his parents in Szazhalombatta, Hungary. Flowers and donations are gratefully declined.

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KOVACS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-04-10 published
KOVACS, Joan Marian (née PRENSLER)
Peacefully on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer surrounded by her family at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, age 82, Joan beloved wife of the late Frank KOVACS. Loving mother and mother-in-law of Barbara and her husband Allen and Mark and his wife Emily. Dear sister and sister-in-law of the late Doug PRENSLER and Betty, sister-in-law of Mary and the late Hugh BREMNER, and June and the late Lew KOVACS. Devoted grandmother of Briana, Lauren and Ryan. Joan will be remembered especially for her elegant style, her quick wit and her fun-loving nature. Joan was a woman who cared deeply for all her family and Friends. She will be sorely missed. No words can express our loss. Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all the wonderful staff at Palliative Care, Sunnybrook Hospital for their outstanding care and devotion. In keeping with her wishes, cremation has taken place. Private interment at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. A reception to celebrate Joan's life will be held 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15 at Market Square, 80 Front Street East, Toronto. In Memoriam donations to Sunnybrook Hospital or Princess Margaret Hospital would be greatly appreciated.

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KOVALENKO o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-02-19 published
POZEG, Ana
Peacefully at Victoria Hospital on Monday, February 18, 2008 Ana POZEG of London in her 95th year. Beloved wife of the late Janko POZEG, mother of late Marica BRUNSKI of Croatia, mother-in-law of Nikola BRUNSKI of Croatia. Dear mother of Alois and his wife Mira, Joe and his wife Ljubica, Nikola and his wife Nada all of London. Grandmother of Biserka SAMARDZIC and her husband Drago of Oakville, Eddy POZEG and his wife Jennefer, Christine KOVALENKO and her husband Bill, Nancy GOLDRICK and her husband Jim, Sylvia and Mary-Ann POZEG of London. Great-grandmother of Justin and Kevin SAMARDZIC, Scott and MacKenna POZEG and Even GOLDRICK. Sister-in-law of Dragica POZEG of Stoney Creek and Milka ANDRISEVIC of Croatia. Aunt of Nick ANDRISEVIC of London, Ljubica GOLUBIC of Croatia, Mary SILJEVINAC and Zvonko POZEG of Stoney Creek. Ana will be missed by many Friends and relatives. Visitors will be received at John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo Street at King Street, on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 o'clock. Funeral Mass at St. Leopold Mandic Croatian Church, 2889 Westminster Drive on Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. Interment in Saint Peter's Cemetery. Prayers Tuesday evening at 8 o'clock. In lieu of flowers donations to the Croatian Church of St. Leopold Mandic would be appreciated.

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KOVAR o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-04-28 published
LUPASKO, Lillian (née KOVAR)
Surrounded by her family and peaceful after a brave struggle, Lillian Lupasko (née KOVAR) died at Victoria Hospital on Saturday, April 26, 2008 in her seventy-first year. The beloved mother of Lori, Lisa and Scott, kind mother-in-law to Tim and Jason and loving grandmother of Janey, Timmy, Rylie and Dylan, Connor and Cole. Lillian will also be greatly missed by her brother Al (Martha) and sisters Bessie (Stan) and Alice (Bill), children of the late Charles and Bessie KOVAR, as well as many warm and supportive Friends. Visitors will be received at the John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo Street at King Street, London on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 o'clock. Funeral Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica, 196 Dufferin Avenue at Richmond Street, London on Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock. Cremation with interment at a later date. A reception will be held following the Funeral Massachusetts, location to be announced and all are welcome. The family would like to thank the Hospital's Palliative Care Unit. Donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of your choice would be appreciated. Prayers Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock. A reception will be held at the Ramada Inn 817 Exeter Road at Wellington, London, starting Wednesday afternoon at 3: 30 p.m. I waited for the Lord and he stooped down to me; he heard my cry.

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KOVEN o@ca.on.grey_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2008-06-27 published
COTTON, Mary A. (née SMITH)
Of Owen Sound and Tobermory passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at Saint Thomas Elgin General Hospital on Thursday, June 26, 2008 in her 87th year. Mary was predeceased by her loving husband Harold and will be deeply missed by her children Penny CURTIS (the late Bill CURTIS) of Brampton, Linda RIEGER (Ray) of Port Stanley, Robert COTTON of Owen Sound/Tobermory and Valerie COTTON of Bolton as well as by her grandchildren Tracy JONES (Jeff,) Terri BENWELL (Rick,) Karen WOLFENDEN (Geoff,) James CURTIS (Lara), Anne CURTIS and Daniel COTTON- KOVEN. In her later years, Mary was especially delighted by visits from her great-grandchildren Jessie, Kayla, Michael, Tyson, Caleb, Madison and Chloe. Mary was the daughter of the late Rev. Robert SMITH and Dora (nee FIELDS) and was predeceased by her sisters Dora and Jenny and her brothers Herbert and Arthur. Growing up she lived in many small towns in the Eastern townships and Quebec and then attended McGill University and MacDonald Normal School in Montreal. After teaching for one year, she enrolled in the Canadian Women's Army Corps and while serving in London, England met and married Harold. Mary was a spirited, independent and intelligent woman. While raising her family, she returned to teaching and continued her education, graduating from Queen's University (1971) and qualifying as a primary educational specialist and teaching librarian. She was instrumental in designing and establishing elementary school libraries in Owen Sound. The young children loved story time with Mrs. COTTON and she had many devoted library helpers over the years. Mary had many varied interests (reading, music (piano), travel, knitting, bridge, rocks) and like her husband Harold, continued to learn and take on new challenges. Mary and Harold were tremendous role models for their children, students and Friends. Sincere appreciation is expressed to the staff of the Saint Thomas Elgin General Hospital for the loving care provided to Mary. Visitation will be held at the George Funeral Home, 430 Mary Street, Wiarton on Sunday, June 29, 2008 from 7: 00 to 9: 00 p.m. and on Monday, June 30th from 12:30 p.m. until the time of the service at 2: 00 p.m. Interment Bayview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations made to the Alzheimer Society, Friends of the Tobermory Library or a children's charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family. Condolences may be left for the family through www.georgefuneralhome.com

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KOVES o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-06-03 published
BASRUR was calm face during severe acute respiratory syndrome crisis
By Helen BRANSWELL, The Canadian Press, Tues., June 3, 2008
Toronto -- Doctor Sheela BASRUR, a public health figure whose skilful leadership and communications expertise helped guide Canada through Toronto's severe acute respiratory syndrome crisis in 2003, died yesterday after a 17-month battle with a rare form of cancer.
BASRUR, 51, had stepped down as Ontario's chief medical officer of health in December 2006 when she learned she was suffering from leiomyosarcoma, a diagnosis for which the prognosis was poor.
Many of her Friends, colleagues and admirers fought back tears as they paid tribute to a diminutive woman with a big brain, a big heart and a quick smile.
"It was obviously at one level expected and inevitable, given what she was dealing with. But it's too soon, too young and a huge loss, not just to public health but far much more in the country," Doctor David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, said from Halifax.
Born in 1956, BASRUR was raised in a professional family.
Her father is a radiation oncologist at the Kitchener hospital where BASRUR died. Her mother is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
Divorced, she had one child -- a daughter, Simone KOVES, who is now 17.
A private funeral will be held, according to family spokesperson Sujit CHOUDRY. A public memorial to mark BASRUR's life and professional contribution will follow.
But some of that recognition started to flow before her death. In April, at a ceremony BASRUR was well enough to attend, the provincial government announced it would name Ontario's new arms-length public health agency the Sheela Basrur Centre.
People for whom she worked and who worked for and with her described a woman able to quickly grasp the big picture, a leader who easily marshalled and motivated troops, and a person whose keen sense of humour was ever at the ready.
"She was one of those people who can take the information and understand the implications of it and be able to convey that to people in a way they understand," said Doctor Bonnie HENRY, a friend who also served as an associate medical officer of health in Toronto.

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KOVES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-03 published
BASRUR, Doctor Sheela
Dr. Sheela BASRUR passed away peacefully on June 2, 2008 at 1: 16 p.m. at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, Kitchener, Ontario with close family members at her side. Doctor BASRUR is survived by her daughter Simone, her mother Parvathi (Pari), her father Vasanth, her sister Jyothi, her nieces Natasha and Nina, by Simone's father Peter KOVES and by Friends, colleagues and admirers across Ontario, Canada and beyond. Doctor BASRUR died as she had lived: with honesty and courage. Her fight with leiomyosarcoma was a fight she shared with the world upon stepping down from her position as Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario on December 6, 2006 to undergo treatment for this rare form of Cancer. Her willingness to speak openly of her personal challenge served as an inspiration to so many others whose lives are affected by cancer. On April 10th, 2008, Dr, BASRUR was awarded Ontario's highest honour, The Order of Ontario, at a special ceremony held at her bedside and presided over by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley. This was followed very shortly after with what would be one of her final public appearances, with Premier Dalton McGuinty and Deputy Premier George Smitherman, where they and addressed the Annual Conference of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. Her speech delivered from the heart received a standing ovation from over 6000 nurses from all parts of healthcare and public health. This honour was the crowning achievement in a career and a life led to the full. Lived with passion, humour, commitment and a desire to change the world in which we live for the better. She achieved international recognition for her calm and unflinching handling of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome crisis while serving as Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto. Sheela BASRUR was, however, so much more than 'the severe acute respiratory syndrome lady' as a child in a supermarket had once called her. Doctor BASRUR was a devoted mother who cared deeply for her daughter and her family and would be passionate about protecting time to attend concerts with Simone even whilst facing a gruelling workload and multiple competing demands. Born in Toronto, Canada on October 17, 1956 to parents Vasanth and Pari, young graduate students from Karnataka and Kerala in South India, Dr. BASRUR began her education at the University of Western Ontario where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1979, and went on to receive her degree in Medicine from the University of Toronto in 1982. Doctor BASRUR was exposed to the extreme realities of the social factors shaping health while in India and Nepal in 1983. She was inspired by the need to work upstream on the factors behind poor health in populations. Doctor BASRUR returned from India and Nepal to Canada, and with her experience of rural health projects in Maharastra state in India, completed a Master of Health Sciences in Community Medicine in 1987, from the University of Toronto. She then went on to be appointed Medical Officer of Health at the East York Health Unit. In 1998, Doctor BASRUR became the first Medical Officer of Health for the newly merged City of Toronto. In this post, Doctor BASRUR championed a range of progressive moves by the City including the implementing DineSafe, a new restaurant inspection system, taking aggressive moves to curb smoking in restaurants, pioneering work on pesticide control - all the time attempting to ensure that information and services were available and targeted to an increasingly ethnically diverse population. In 2004, Dr BASRUR was appointed the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the first in the history of the province to be appointed by the Legislative Assembly. In her time as Chief Medical Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister for Public Health, Dr. BASRUR exemplified the resolve required to speak the truth. Her work on Tobacco control included the groundbreaking Smokefree Ontario legislation passed in 2006, the establishment of Ontario's first ever arms-length Agency for Health Protection and Promotion established in 2007, a 2005 report to the Legislature that honestly and frankly told of the challenges and work required to rebuild the Ontario public health system. As Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor BASRUR also released a major report on childhood obesity sparking attention and action on the increasing health threat it posed. All of these achievements and many more earned Sheela the Amethyst Award, the highest award granted to a member of the Ontario Public Service. All these awards and honours, bestowed on Doctor BASRUR, can never fully capture the person she was. She was awarded honourary Doctorate degrees from Ryerson University and York University, and a similar event was planned by the University of Toronto this month. Sheela BASRUR is mourned by her daughter, her family and Friends, her colleagues. Ontario and Canada have lost a brave and gracious leader. The family is holding a private ceremony in the days to follow. A public celebration of Sheela's life will be arranged in ensuing weeks. Sheela had requested the donations be sent, in lieu of flowers, to the Grand River Hospital Foundation, 835 King St. W, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 1G3. Ph: 519-749-4205. Fax: 519-749-4354. Online giving: www.grhf.org. Donations should be marking 'inpatient oncology equipment'. Condolences may be forwarded to the family through the Erb and Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King Street South, Waterloo Ontario, N2J 1P7, 519-745-8445 or www.erbgood.com

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KOVES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-03 published
Sheela BASRUR, 51: Physician
At the height of the 2003 crisis that stunned Toronto and caused the rest of the world to stay away from Canada's largest city, she worked three weeks straight. At one point, she said it was like 'ripping a bandage off one wound to stop the bleeding on another'
By Gloria GALLOWAY, Page S8
Ottawa -- Toronto's hotels were half empty, people on the streets were wearing medical facemasks, the city's Chinatowns were ghost towns, and there was one reassuring voice pleading for calm.
Sheela BASRUR was Toronto's medical officer of health when severe acute respiratory syndrome arrived in her city, stealing in from Hong Kong and unleashing its deadly force on a population taken fully by surprise.
Suddenly, the diminutive doctor was thrust onto the national stage. The world's health community turned a concerned eye on Toronto. Reporters from across the country were calling to demand answers about the deadly and previously unknown threat.
Amid the chaos, she became a trusted general in the fight against the disease.
In the beginning, Doctor BASRUR and her team were working in a knowledge vacuum. "What kind of control measures, what kind of investigation might be needed? How many contacts might there be?" she once said describing the questions that arose in the early days of the crisis. "We had no idea that we might be facing hundreds of contacts even in the first weekend and 23,000 by the end of it."
With the first deaths, the apprehensions of the entire city - and, to some extent, the rest of Canada - came to rest on her five-foot frame. It was a weight she shouldered with remarkable competence.
Sheela BASRUR had always wanted to be a doctor.
She was born in Toronto to Vasnath BASRUR and his wife, Parvathi, who had arrived from India as graduate students during the 1950s. Vasnath was an oncologist; Parvathi was a veterinary geneticist who managed to obtain her degrees despite growing up in a poor family of 10 children.
When the BASRURs moved to Guelph, an hour's drive west of Toronto, they were conscious of being what seemed to be the only visible minority family in the community. When Parvathi BASRUR breezed by in her sari, people on the street would stop and stare.
The young Sheela penned poems and essays for sheer amusement. She was also a skilled flautist and told the Toronto Star, in one of the many profiles that paper wrote about her over the years, that her artistic nature led her parents to believe she would one day be a writer or a musician.
But the biological subject matter of the BASRURs' dinner banter led her in a different direction. After high school, she obtained a science degree at the University of Western Ontario in London and then headed to the University of Toronto to study medicine.
The newly graduated Doctor BASRUR returned to Guelph, where she practised as a family doctor for a year. But adventure called and, in 1985, she headed on a trip around the world.
It was in Nepal, and then in her parents' homeland of India, that she decided to pursue a career in public health. She told a reporter that visits to hospitals and clinics in those countries convinced her of the importance of community medicine. In one village, she encountered a woman with tuberculosis who could not afford the full treatment for the disease but whose husband needed her to be well enough to return to work on the family farm.
When she returned home, Doctor BASRUR sought her masters degree in health science as a specialist in community medicine. Her first forays into public health were adventures. She was, for instance, the chief investigator of a massive recall of shellfish along the Eastern seaboard.
Then she returned to Toronto and first became the medical officer of health in East York, the smallest of the city's suburbs. Starting in 1998, she was made head of a huge department that formed when all of the suburbs amalgamated.
In her private life, she enjoyed classic rock 'n roll, especially The Who. She tried her best to be a vegetarian but was not always successful. She did yoga every day before the sun came up. And she was a needlepoint fanatic. "I just find it very therapeutic," she once said.
An early marriage did not last. However, out of that she gained a daughter, Simone, who was the love of her life and her companion through her final difficult years.
Dr. BASRUR's early days at the Toronto Board of Health were spent supervising the merger of the various boards and handling ordinary local issues - children's food programs, smog alerts, and the first posting of the results of restaurant inspections.
And then, in March, 2003, came severe acute respiratory syndrome which was eventually determined to be a disease caused by the coronavirus. A genus of animal virus named for their crown-like appearance under a microscope, they are among the leading causes of the common cold. Until the onset of severe acute respiratory syndrome, they had been known to cause severe diseases only in animals.
However, by April 2003, several labs had uncovered evidence of a new coronavirus that had infected at least some patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome. By then it had struck more than 2,600 people and killed 103 worldwide.
Suddenly, people were dying in Toronto. It was a disaster that had to be contained.
Like many of those on the front line, Doctor BASRUR worked three weeks straight after the first cases were discovered. As severe acute respiratory syndrome spread through the city, she and her team charted its course, trying to build firewalls between the infected and those who were sitting vulnerable in its path.
At times, just when they thought they had stemmed its spread in one direction, the disease would pop up somewhere else through an unanticipated line of transmission. Mass groups of students and factory workers were quarantined. People were told they could not go to the funerals of loved ones. Health workers were dying along with their severe acute respiratory syndrome patients.
At one point, she described the fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome as "ripping a bandage off one wound to stop the bleeding on another."
Dr. BASRUR and others were also puzzled as to why 40 per cent of severe acute respiratory syndrome patients failed to demonstrate evidence of being infected with the new coronavirus. What's more, other people who did carry the virus did not have severe acute respiratory syndrome, or severe acute respiratory syndrome symptoms. Also troubling was the fact that the coronavirus carried only four to 10 genes and were infamous for mutating with every replication and for swapping genes with other viruses.
All things considered, it is not surprising that misjudgments did occur. It took nearly a week for the members of a 500-person religious community to be sent into quarantine after being exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome because health officials did not realized the contacts had been made. Asked about the delay, Doctor BASRUR said: "It's a fair question… hindsight is absolutely my best friend."
There was the odd humorous moment, like the Abbott and Costello routine she played with Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman. As the elected head of Canada's largest city, he was experiencing his first encounters with such organizations as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control near Washington.
Upset by a press conference about a travel advisory that had been imposed because of severe acute respiratory syndrome, he railed against the warnings that had been announced by "this Centres for Disease Control group, whoever they are."
"WHO," whispered Doctor BASRUR.
"Who?" he shouted.
"That's right, WHO," said the doctor trying to control her laughter.
But, as 44 people lost their fight to the disease, there were many frustrating and difficult weeks. And through it all, Doctor BASRUR - the face of calm and reason - became one of the acknowledged heroes.
A female co-worker remembers bumping into her one day during the crisis as she emerged from a washroom. The co-worker told Dr. BASRUR that she looked wonderful and the doctor responded by saying she felt tired.
"And I said, 'Sheela, you're great. The whole city loves you and is counting on you. And this morning on the radio I heard the host of the morning show say that he knew it was okay to go out because the little doctor with the glasses said it was.'"
Dr. BASRUR laughed and hugged the woman in delight and went off to try save more lives.
Several years later, the co-worker e-mailed Doctor BASRUR and asked if she remembered the incident. "And she said 'yes, but I believe he said the cute little famous doctor with the glasses."
Those who worked with her during that time say it was a huge privilege to be part of her team. Bonnie HENRY, who was Toronto's associate medical officer of health, said Doctor BASRUR's great strength was her ability to communicate.
Months after the crisis, the two doctors were walking through an airport together "and people would come up to her in the airport and say 'I feel like I know you,' said Doctor HENRY. " She was always very gracious. She was really touched by the fact that people responded to the way that she was able to communicate things."
Dr. BASRUR's tireless efforts during severe acute respiratory syndrome made her the first choice of the Ontario government when it went looking for a new Chief Medical Officer of Health in January, 2004. Her mandate was to revamp the way health programs were delivered in the province and to do whatever possible to prevent another severe acute respiratory syndrome. She took on such big jobs as instituting a rigorous anti-smoking policy and a provincewide healthy-eating program.
Then, in November, 2006, a pain in her lower back that she had been feeling for some time became excruciating. It was caused by a tumour on her spinal cord.
Concerned that she could become a paraplegic, her surgeons removed it immediately. But the prognosis was still not good. She had hemangiopericytoma, a rare vascular cancer that started in her uterus and spread throughout her body.
All at once, the doctor had become a patient. Even so, the disease did not incapacitate her. A week after stepping down from the job of Ontario's top doctor, she returned to the provincial parliament to see the introduction of legislation establishing a new public-health agency - an agency she helped create and one that has been named after her.
The months after the diagnosis were like a gift wrapped in barbed wire, she said. "It's like being given the most beautiful bouquet of roses you can imagine being placed in your arms and thinking 'whoa, they've got thorns on them.' "
Dr. BASRUR said she preferred to focus on the "rose petals," like the fact that, after a lifetime of hard work, she had been able to devote time to her daughter, now 17.
In April, she was awarded the Order of Ontario in her hospital bed by Lieutenant-Governor David ONLEY. The next day, she rallied and attended a fête organized in her honour by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty told the crowd they must not been fooled by her size. "She's tough when she needs to be - a regular Mighty Mouse."
Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman said later that he could not agree more. During severe acute respiratory syndrome, "she was the one that lifted us on her shoulders, even though she wasn't that tall. For a little person, she proved to be awfully mighty."
In difficult times, he said, it's particularly important that clinicians communicate in a way that is accurate, concise and understandable. "Not everyone has that gift."
In the end, Friends say Doctor BASRUR was accepting of the fact that she would die at 51. "If I can help more people have a great life," she once said, "then I'll have a great life."
Sheela BASRUR was born in Toronto on October, 17, 1956. She died June 2, 2008, of hemangiopericytoma, a rare vascular cancer, at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre in Kitchener, Ontario She is survived by her daughter, Simone KOVES, and by her parents, Vasnath and Parvathi BASRUR.

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