HAR­RI­SON, Chris­tine El­iz­a­beth

Cape Breton Post - - IN MEMORIAM -

Chris was born in Toronto on Aug. 14, 1953 and died peace­fully at Hos­pice Welling­ton (Guelph) on June 29, 2015 af­ter a long and ar­du­ous strug­gle with colon and bone can­cer. Pre­de­ceased by her par­ents, James and El­iz­a­beth Har­ri­son (Main), Chris­tine is sur­vived by her hus­band, Ron; brother, Jim; sis­ter-in-law, Ar­lene, their chil­dren Ali, Koal, Jack and Maisie; as well as Aunt Jean Buck­ley and nu­mer­ous cousins. She will be missed by her mother-in-law, Annabelle MacKin­non. She will also be missed by her dear friends, Lynn and Mike and their chil­dren, Jane and Sarah.

Through na­ture and nur­ture Chris­tine had a keen mind and force­ful spirit which led to leav­ing high school seek­ing “real” life in the late six­ties. Stints in shoe sales and as a bank teller soon led her to Ry­er­son Poly­tech­nic where she took cour­ses en­abling her to en­ter the Univer­sity of Guelph. She spoke of her ex­pe­ri­ence at Ry­er­son as awak­en­ing a love for phi­los­o­phy that deep­ened as she com­pleted her B.A. and M.A. (1985) at Guelph. Chris­tine’s post-grad­u­ate aca­demic fo­cus was bioethics which at the time was just emerg­ing as a pro­fes­sion.

Chris re­ceived her PhD in 1990 at McMaster Univer­sity. For sev­eral years she worked with a Hamil­ton area geron­tol­o­gist and then lo­cal VON lead­er­ship with the broad goal of main­tain­ing and en­hanc­ing in­de­pen­dence and au­ton­omy for se­niors at a time when so­ci­ety was all-too-ready to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize and in­fan­tilize them.

Chris­tine then se­cured a po­si­tion at Toronto’s Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren, work­ing there for al­most 20 years. Most of her time at Sick­Kids was as Di­rec­tor of Bioethics. Dur­ing those years, bioethics was ma­tur­ing and deep­en­ing as a pro­fes­sion and her col­leagues have noted she was piv­otal in the de­vel­op­ment and growth of their com­mu­nity of prac­tice.

Since their found­ing Dr. Har­ri­son was a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Bioethics So­ci­ety (CBS) and of the Univer­sity of Toronto based Joint Cen­tre for Bioethics ( JCB). She served as pres­i­dent of the CBS, chair­ing or co-chair­ing three of their an­nual con­fer­ences. Chris­tine re­ceived the CBS Life­time Achieve­ment Award in 2011 and the JCB has cre­ated an an­nual award in her name, the “Chris­tine Har­ri­son Bioethics Ed­u­ca­tion Award for In­te­gra­tion of The­ory and Prac­tice.”

Per­haps Chris­tine’s proud­est hon­our was that her beloved Sick­Kids cre­ated the “Chris­tine Har­ri­son Pae­di­atric Grand Rounds” to take place as part of the hos­pi­tal’s an­nual Bioethics Week pro­gram which she helped found and make an im­por­tant part of its in­sti­tu­tional life.

Af­ter she fi­nally had to take med­i­cal leave from Sick­Kids, Chris stud­ied for and re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate in Ca­nine Mas­sage. She vol­un­teered at the Guelph Hu­mane So­ci­ety, help­ing dogs un­der stress and some­times in pain cope with their new en­vi­ron­ment.

Chris and her hus­band Ron de­lighted in travel and some of her fond­est mo­ments were spent with him on these trips abroad. In Ron, she truly met her in­tel­lec­tual part­ner and found a last­ing love, so­lace and friend­ship both in good days, and in very dif­fi­cult days.

We miss you Chris, pro­foundly. Your unique ca­pac­ity to chal­lenge us with your in­tel­li­gence and your deep car­ing will not only be re­mem­bered but re­counted fre­quently with both sor­row and joy. We will all for­ever miss your love and your beau­ti­ful laugh.

Do­na­tions in Chris­tine’s mem­ory may be made to The Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren (Toronto), the Guelph Hu­mane So­ci­ety, or Hos­pice Welling­ton (Guelph).

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