WICKETT-NESBITT, Beatrice Enid
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C.M., B.A., M.A., D.Ed., LLD
Died on September 10, 2012, at the age of 95, in Calgary, Alberta, with her daughter and cherished friends at her side. She was predeceased in 1976 by her first husband John Cameron Wickett and in 2002 by her second husband Herbert Hugh John Nesbitt. She was also predeceased in 1953 by her daughter Barbara Jean Wickett and in 2006 by her son John Cameron Wickett. Left to mourn are her daughter Marni Laird (David), grandchildren Michael Smith, John Wickett, Holly Smith Pashniak, Robert Wickett (Adele) and Michael Wickett (Mimi), as well as nine great-grandchildren. She is fondly remembered by stepchildren Eleanor Nesbitt, Thomas Nesbitt (Susan Burgess), David Nesbitt (Deborah) and Robert Nesbitt (Deanna).
Bea was born in Alberta and completed her secondary education there. She received a B.A. Honours in psychology at Acadia University, where she was an accomplished member of the Girls' Basketball Team. Her M.A. was earned at Brown University and she completed graduate courses at McGill University. Bea received an Honorary Doctorate of Education from Acadia University in 1980 and a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from Carleton University in 1995.
Her career in psychology began with working with Dr. Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute during the war years. After the war she concentrated on her family and private consulting. In 1961 she was Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and from 1962 until her retirement in 1983 was Chief Psychologist at the Ottawa Board of Education. There she established programmes for special needs and disadvantaged children; one of her proudest accomplishments was the "Step-by-Step" programme where volunteers were matched with emotionally disturbed children, a programme that spread both in Canada and abroad. She also set up a unique in-house staff counseling programme, the first of its kind in Canada. After retirement from the Board, she helped form the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Palliative Care Association and was resident psychologist with the palliative care unit at Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre.
In 1986 she was honored with the Order of Canada for her innovative programmes for emotionally disturbed and autistic pupils in the school system. Bea received many other awards such as the Award of Merit from the Ontario Psychological Association for outstanding professional achievement, the Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation Meritorious Award, the Canadian Rehabilitation Council's "Most Innovative Program of the Year" Award and the Margaret Griffiths Award from the Council on Aging. In 2007 she received the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to the CPA. She also sat on the Board of Directors for several charitable agencies and participated in many executive advisory committees. This past May she was presented with the Diamond Jubilee medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.
Bea was an incredibly caring person, always positive, and very strong. She never complained, always choosing to accept adversities as challenges. She loved her family and she loved her friends. A true humanitarian, Bea devoted herself to making this world a better place for everyone ? particularly for children and the disadvantaged. She created innovative programmes that benefited those who needed help and many of these were adopted by communities across the country. She lived by her strong belief that "The very cornerstone of our profession is compassion. Let us not forget that, despite the trauma and complexities of today's challenges". Bea was a very active volunteer with such agencies as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Regional Palliative Care Committee, the Big Sister Association and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY'S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Her ashes will be buried at a later date in Aurora Ontario. For those who are unable to attend Bea's funeral but would like to send condolences, they may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.
If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the Dr. Bea Wickett Fund, The Canadian Psychological Foundation, 141 Laurier Ave. W. Suite 702 Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3.
In living memory of Beatrice Wicket-Nesbitt a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 2L5 Telephone: 1-800-661-1599.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen from Sept. 13 to Sept. 14, 2012