DR. PATTY RIGBY

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - BIRTH AND DEATH NOTICES -

1 955 2018 When death comes, like the hun­gry bear in au­tumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; ... When death comes, I want to step through the door full of cu­rios­ity, won­der­ing: what is it go­ing to be like, that cot­tage of dark­ness? And there­fore I look upon ev­ery­thing as a broth­er­hood and a sis­ter­hood, and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I con­sider eter­nity as an­other pos­si­bil­ity. and I think of each life as a flower, as com­mon as a field daisy, and as sin­gu­lar, and each name a com­fort­able mu­sic in the mouth, tend­ing, as all mu­sic does, to­ward si­lence, and each body a lion of courage, and some­thing pre­cious to the earth. ... When it’s over, I don’t want to won­der If I have made of my life some­thing par­tic­u­lar, and real... I don’t want to end up sim­ply hav­ing vis­ited this world. (Mary Oliver - When Death Comes) Dr. Patty Rigby, in her sixty-fourth year, en­tered that cot­tage of dark­ness in the early hours of Oc­to­ber 7, 2018. She did not sim­ply visit this world. She em­braced it in both her per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives, and in do­ing so made a dif­fer­ence to the lives of so many. Patty, who held both a master’s and a doc­tor­ate in Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy and Health Science, joined the De­part­ment of Oc­cu­pa­tional Science and Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy in 1994 at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto where she worked un­til her re­tire­ment in 2017. Her re­search was crit­i­cal in the de­vel­op­ment and ad­vance­ment of one of the most widely rec­og­nized OT prac­tice mod­els, the Per­son-En­vi­ron­ment-Oc­cu­pa­tion (PEO) model, which rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of en­vi­ron­ment as a con­trib­u­tor to oc­cu­pa­tional per­for­mance and health. Patty also con­trib­uted to a ground-break­ing shift in the OT lens by pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren’s “play,” un­cov­er­ing the value in chil­dren’s play­ful­ness, which in­flu­enced the fo­cus and de­vel­op­ment of treat­ment pro­grams and eval­u­a­tion tools. She was a much-loved and ad­mired teacher in her field, and pub­lished nu­mer­ous peer-re­viewed ar­ti­cles and book chap­ters in the course of her ca­reer. In June of this year Patty was awarded the 2018 Life Mem­ber­ship Award of Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­a­pists in recog­ni­tion of her out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­fes­sion in re­search, prac­tice and teach­ing. Patty met her spouse, Dr. John Wedge, while both were work­ing at the Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal in Saska­toon in the 1980’s. In 1988, their ca­reers took them to Toronto to­gether where they have made their home ever since. To­gether with John, she trav­elled the world on mis­sions both pro­fes­sional and per­sonal. Theirs was an en­vi­able lov­ing re­la­tion­ship, each re­spect­ing the pro­fes­sional de­mands of the other yet al­ways pro­tec­tive of their time to­gether, whether it was spent on the golf course, at their home in Sa­van­nah or their an­nual sum­mer re­treat to Cape Bre­ton. Their time golf­ing on the May long week­end was the last care­free time they were able to share to­gether. For Patty, fam­ily was first. She played a cen­tral role in the lives of her nieces and neph­ews (who knew her lov­ingly as “AP”), in­sti­gat­ing fam­ily gath­er­ings that cre­ated mem­o­ries and bonds that will res­onate through their lives. She stead­fastly main­tained close con­tact with all of her si­b­lings and ev­ery niece and nephew, where ever they hap­pened to be. When her beloved brother Mur­ray died, Patty stepped in to give his chil­dren, Jor­dan, Sierra, and Ai­dan the love and sup­port they needed. Liv­ing as she did in Toronto, she was close to the fam­ily of Dr. Char­lotte Wedge, her spouse, Tom and their chil­dren, Ian, Ge­or­gia, and Patrick Nel­son, to whom she was like a sec­ond mother. Patty was known within the cir­cle of fam­ily and friends, fondly and rev­er­en­tially, as “Patty Per­fect”. And per­fect she was in so many, many ways; un­fail­ingly cheer­ful, pos­i­tive, gen­er­ous, and lov­ing. As the diplo­matic mid­dle child of five chil­dren, Patty was a uni­fy­ing force all her life. She trans­formed for the bet­ter ev­ery room she en­tered and ev­ery per­son she en­coun­tered. In the words of Mary Oliver, Patty made of her life “some­thing par­tic­u­lar...and real.” Patty leaves be­hind fam­ily mem­bers in Saska­toon, Cal­gary, Toronto, Aus­tralia, and many places in Bri­tish Columbia (in­clud­ing her fa­ther, Eric; si­b­lings, Gwen Beaton, Janet Rigby and Jef­frey Rigby), too many to oth­er­wise name here; and an ar­ray of friends, col­leagues, and stu­dents, all of whom have very heavy hearts as they come to terms with their enor­mous loss. Many as­sisted Patty and John on Patty’s fi­nal voy­age, but spe­cial recog­ni­tion and thanks must go to Dr. Char­lotte Wedge whose tire­less sup­port, both med­i­cal and per­sonal, so pro­foundly eased her jour­ney. The fam­ily asks that in lieu of flow­ers, do­na­tions may be made to the Patty Rigby Schol­ar­ship in the Grad­u­ate De­part­ment of Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Sci­ences at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto; or the Pal­lia­tive Care Unit of Michael Gar­ron Hospi­tal in Toronto. A pri­vate in­ter­ment cer­e­mony will be held in Toronto at a later date.

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