KOTKAS, LawrencePosted: January 2nd, 2018
DR. LAWRENCE JOHN KOTKAS passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the Chinook Regional Hospital on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at the age of 85. Lawrence was born in Raymond, Alberta on January 30, 1932. He was the oldest child of Jack and Margaret Kotkas.
Following high school in Raymond, Lawrence completed training at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, and served in the reserves. He graduated with his B.Sc. & M.D. from the University of Alberta, and applied for the Canadian Foreign Service. He began his Foreign Service postings, both as an M.D. and a diplomat, in Ottawa and continued overseas in the UK, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland. He received his specialty, the D.P.M. (Doctor of Psychiatric Medicine) from both the University of Leeds and the University of London while also teaching at both universities. Lawrence was in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a young man and often said that one of the proudest days of his life was when he graduated with his M.D. and received his Geneva Convention card for medical personnel.
Lawrence returned to Canada to live in 1966 and went into private practice in psychiatry. He was the first psychiatrist in Lethbridge and established the first general hospital psychiatric unit. He continued as the Chief of Psychiatry in Lethbridge hospitals for many years. Lawrence was a pioneer in the field of nutritional medicine and was a founding member of the Nutritional Medicine Today Society. His compassion, advocacy, and determination contributed considerably to a better understanding of both mental and physical health.
Words cannot describe the depth of knowledge that Lawrence acquired in his lifetime. His joy was in sharing his knowledge in ways that would benefit everyone he encountered. Lawrence was also a gifted musician, pianist, baritone singer and accordionist. He composed original music and lyrics for his family that we treasure.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife Patti Clow, of 34 years, children and grandchildren: Kaaren Finlay, Kate & Jack; Melissa (Glenn) Price, Harrison & Nicholas; Alex (Diane) Kotkas, Jenise (Carsten), Shianne, Elise, Claire & Kai; and Kevin (Debbie) Kotkas, Ajax; Shawn Burke; Marla (Gord) Bloudoff, Ashley (Tom) & Braden.
A Memorial Service will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME – 2800 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 426-6 St. S, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 2C9.