9 entries
  • "Irene was an energetic, serious scientist who earned great..."
    - Ron Carter
  • "Wonderful woman who always told it like it was. I..."
    - Terry Watada
  • "As one of Dr. Uchida's last trainees, I would like to let..."
  • "Dr. Uchida was an outstanding scientist and human being."
    - David Feeny
  • "I am filled with gratitude for having known Irene Uchida,..."
    - Darrell Tomkins
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IRENE AYAKO UCHIDA, PhD Officer of the Order of Canada Passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 in Toronto in her 96th year. Feisty, fun loving and gracious, Irene enjoyed a long and distinguished career in genetic research. Born in Vancouver, she spent her early years playing violin, piano and organ, hanging out with her crowd (Irene's Bunch) and writing for the New Canadian, the Japanese Canadian newspaper. During the war Irene was interned in the British Columbia Interior, where she spent 2 years as principal of the Lemon Creek school. In 1944 Irene completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and in 1951, received her PhD in Zoology. At Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, she began her life study of the genetics of twins. As Director of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Children's Hospital of Winnipeg, she discovered a link between a mother's exposure to x-rays in the years prior to pregnancy and the incidence of children born with aberrant chromosomes. Director of the Cytogenetics laboratory at MCMaster University Medical Centre and later Director of Cytogenetics at Oshawa General Hospital, Professor Emeritus in the departments of Pediatrics and Pathology at McMaster University, she has received much recognition for her many contributions to science, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 and honorary degrees from both the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University. Irene will be remembered for her energy, her sense of humour, her love of music, good food, parties ("something good") and for her insistence on proper grammar. Survived by her sister June (George), Auntie Irene will be missed by nieces Karen, Lynn (Dale) and Julie (Clemence) and great-nieces Sachiko, Erin (Patrick), Reiko and Shoko. A simple gathering for family and friends will be held at The Simple Alternative Funeral Centre - Toronto, 275 Lesmill Road, on Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 2-4 p.m. Donations to the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated by the family. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre at a later date.

Published in the Toronto Star on Aug. 2, 2013