Wojciech Poznanski

Wojciech Janusz Poznanski

M.D., F.R.C.P., F.A.C.P.

Wojciech Poznanski passed away at Hospice House in Vernon, BC on January 6, 2007 with his family at his side. He will be deeply missed by Nadine, his wife of 55 years, his children, Karine and Bernard (Julie) and his 5 grand-daughters, his niece, nephew and 2 grand-nephews, as well as Nadine’s close relatives in Belgium and Switzerland. He will no doubt be fondly remembered by the many people whose lives he touched.Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1917, he graduated from the University of Warsaw with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1939. At the onset of World War II in the fall of 1939, he joined the Polish Army as a volunteer and was taken prisoner in the early days of the war. He spent 5 years in various prisoner of war camps in Germany until his escape in late fall 1944 and later joined a Polish detachment of the American army.

When the war ended, Wojciech entered medical school at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, receiving his medical degree in 1949. The next 2 years were spent working full time to support his mother who had joined him from Poland, while at the same time doing post-graduate studies in internal medicine. He married Nadine (née Chomé) in Brussels and they immigrated to Canada in 1951.

Following a one year internship at Winnipeg Misericordia Hospital, Wojciech began his life work by serving small isolated communities in northern Manitoba. In 1955, he joined the medical clinic in Wainwright, Alberta, where his work focused on internal medicine. A move to Ottawa in 1962 with his family enabled him to complete his postgraduate studies. He spent one year as Chief Resident in the Dept. of Medicine at Ottawa Civic Hospital and then finished his studies as Senior Resident and Clinical Investigator in the Dept. of Metabolism and Endocrinology at Royal Victoria Hospital (McGill University) in Montreal (1963-64).

Wojciech joined the medical staff of the University of Ottawa as a Consultant in Endocrinology and Metabolism. He was also appointed Chief of Medical Biochemistry and Head of Metabolism Research at Ottawa Civic Hospital. His research projects helped advance medical knowledge in diabetes and obesity. He remained in Ottawa as Associate Professor in both internal medicine and medical biochemistry until his retirement in 1982. Referred to at times as the “Father of Medical Biochemistry” in Canada, his efforts helped establish the status of medical biochemistry as a postgraduate medical diploma. Wojciech Poznanski was the recipient of a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (1964) and of an Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Physicians and Surgeons (1967). He is the author of many medical articles and publications in his field of Endocrinology. Among his many medical memberships, he was an Honorary Fellow of the Alpha-Omega-Alpha Medical Fraternity. In recognition of his contribution to medicine in Canada, he received Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee medal in 1977. Following retirement, he responded to a call from the United Church of Canada Medical Mission Services to serve as a physician at Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, BC. There, he tackled the BC wilderness, delivering medical services to a large region of small communities, including the Gitk’san and the Wetsu’wetn peoples for 3 years. In the fall of 1985, Wojciech and Nadine came to “retire” in Vernon, BC. It was not long, however, before he accepted the position of Medical Director of the Diabetic Day Unit at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Deeply aware of the needs of an aging population, he founded the Greater Vernon Adult Day Care Centre (now known as “Day Break”).

The years he endured as a prisoner of war profoundly affected and developed his commitment to human rights. This led him and Nadine to establish chapters of Amnesty International in Hazelton and later in Vernon. For all his contributions to the community of Vernon, Wojciech was named Most Valuable Person in 1989.

Throughout his life. Wojciech was a loyal, devoted and very active member of the United Church. At Trinity United in Vernon, he took leadership roles in stewardship and outreach. His love of gardening led him to help conceive and plan the beautiful rock garden at the back of the church. After a life fully dedicated to his fellow human beings, may he now rest in peace. A Celebration of Wojciech’s life will be held at Trinity United Church on Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 3:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to Vernon Hospice House, 3506-27th Avenue, Vernon, BC V1T 1S4 or to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Ave. East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H9 will be gratefully received. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Bethel Funeral Chapel Ltd., 5605-27th Street, Vernon, BC

V1T 8Z5 (250) 542-1187.

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