Cherry Blossoms

Dr.Patricia Mark

June 30, 1941 ~ April 8, 2021 (age 79)


It is with profound sadness that the family of Dr Patricia Mark announces her sudden and unexpected death on April 8th, 2021 at the age of 79.

Paddy was born in Ballyshannon, Northern Ireland in 1941 into a family of doctors. She graduated in medicine from Trinity College, Dublin. This was the start of her life’s passion. Her medical career was a calling, not a job, and she threw herself into it whole heartedly. 

She met her future husband, Dr Mark Nixon, in 1966 in St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, England, when she sat herself down across from him at lunch in the cafeteria. They emigrated to Canada in 1967, living in Toronto briefly before driving across Canada to Vancouver with their great friend Stella and all their worldly possessions packed into a VW Beetle. They were married in 1971 and subsequently moved to Vancouver Island where Paddy practiced full-service family medicine and Mark joined the department of anesthesia in Nanaimo. She enjoyed a very long and successful career as a family physician and was one of the founding practitioners of the Sow’s Ear Medical Clinic in Lantzville BC. She very proudly practiced in a full-service capacity and never shied away from challenging situations. She excelled in roles as a teacher, mentor, medical leader and advocate, always with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of mental and physical energy. 

Sometime during all of this she and Mark found time to raise a family. 

Paddy was always a tireless advocate for those at risk. In the second half of her career she undertook the challenging task of addiction management medicine and worked in the corrections system, taking on new responsibility there even in her last days. She practiced with great empathy and integrity; always to the benefit of her patients. Paddy extended this empathy to friends of the four-legged variety. She was an enthusiastic supporter and fundraiser for the BC SPCA and their Nanoose Bay house was always home to several dogs and cats, all of whom were adopted or rescued, sometimes from very unpleasant situations. Her annual sales drive for SPCA calendars was always one of the year’s salient events.

Paddy was a very accomplished writer and historian, another interest which those who shared found tremendously beneficial. She never tired of discussing the topic over a glass of wine. Her dear father, Dr James Alison Mark had been a POW in World War II, surviving 3 1/2 years as prisoner at the real bridge on the river Kwai in Thailand. She explored this part of her personal history by learning all she could about WWII. To this end she became involved with the Imperial War Museum in London and volunteered in transcribing prisoners journals kept secretly during the war. It is from her father that she inherited her highest calling: to be of service. It is also telling of her deep love for him that she came to be caring for inmates all over BC. 

Paddy and Mark have been avid and very skilled gardeners, growing their sprawling world class Rhododendron garden together for over 48 years. Paddy’s specific passion was alpine rock gardens, the tiny yet tough mountain plants mirroring her own small yet feisty self. Many of her friends developed a serious interest in gardening as a benefit of their friendship. Paddy and Mark would never hesitate to share their expert advice, not to mention seedlings cuttings, and full-grown plants.

For many years, the two hosted a large garden party for their friends, including newcomers to their community, in their beautiful garden, a bright highlight on everyone’s calendar. Affectionately known as “the bun fight”,  family and friends would contribute time and effort to hull strawberries, slice buns, and provide oven space for cooking turkeys and hams. In her usual firm manner, Paddy would recruit the surgeons to carve the meat --the occasional misguided soul considered declining, albeit briefly.

Paddy leaves behind a devastated family: husband Mark Nixon; daughters Ruth and Sarah (Jesse Capon), stepchildren Clare McQuaid (Rick McQuaid) and Paul (Iris Nixon), grandchildren Hannah Nixon, Gillian Nixon, Clementine Nixon, Georgia Nixon, Elliot Capon, Luke McQuaid and Emma McQuaid. She was predeceased by her stepson Adam. A wide circle of friends, colleagues, patients and animals also mourn her sudden passing.

The Irish saying, “For evil to succeed, it requires only that good men donothing,” was one of her favourites. It exemplifies her credo to work tirelessly in benefit of that which she believed in. 

A memorial in her garden is planned for the summer, when regulations allow. In lieu of flowers if you are moved to make a donation to the BC SPCA or your favorite animal charity in her memory she would have been so touched.

Godspeed, dear friend.


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