Cover photo for Dr. Michael John Tyrrell's Obituary
Dr. Michael John Tyrrell Profile Photo

Dr. Michael John Tyrrell

April 14, 1936 — December 25, 2023

Calgary

Dr. Michael John Tyrrell

 

Michael passed away peacefully in Calgary on Christmas Day. He will be missed and remembered by his daughters Claire Tyrrell and husband David Fery (step daughters, Taylor and Summer) and Michele Tyrrell and husband Gordon Boese (step daughters, Emily and Erin), brother Colin Tyrrell and wife Kathy Tyrrell (children Thomas and Jessamy), his sister in law, Sarah Tyrrell (children Anna, Lucy and Simon), mother of his children, Barbara (Bobbi) Tyrrell (née Lock) and long time friend and recent fiance, Joy Anderson. Michael was predeceased by his parents Thomas and Doris Tyrrell, brother Peter Tyrrell, and his life partners Linda McDonald, Lois Hawkins and Pat Smith.

Born on April 14, 1936 in Oxford, England, Michael was the son of a veterinary surgeon and a dispenser (pharmacist).  His father joined the government veterinary service, which moved them around the country.  They arrived in London just as World War II was starting, and at the beginning of the Blitz.  Doris, Michael and his new baby brother Peter were evacuated first to live above his grandparents shop in industrial Blackburn, and then to the seaside near Blackpool.  When the initial bombing seemed to have stopped, they moved back to London just in time for the start of the V1 and V2 unmanned terror weapons which Hitler unleashed on London.  The family slept under a reinforced steel canopy, the Anderson shelter, which protected them when a flying bomb exploded across the road.

After the war and the birth of his brother, Colin they moved to the country and resided in an old farm house in a remote area at the end of an unmade road.  Living here kindled Michael's life-long love of the countryside.  As a teenager, he would rise early and accompany one of the assistant gamekeepers on his rounds of the estate, learning a good deal about game and nature in general. 

At school he was a hard-working student, and was awarded a State Scholarship to study medicine.  He obtained his medical degree from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, University of London in 1959.

He completed post-graduate training in cardiology at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.  He served as a Senior Registrar in Cardiology at Papworth, Cambridge, UK.

In 1967, he decided that a brighter future lay ahead in North America, and emigrated with his family firstly to the US where he served as an instructor and fellow, completing a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Harvard University in Boston. 

They had crossed the Atlantic on one of the very last sailings of the liner Queen Mary, which is now preserved as a tourist attraction in Long Beach, CA.  He then moved our family to Canada, completing a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Arriving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1970 he practiced pediatric cardiology at Royal University Hospital for 42 years.  After many years as a full professor at the University of Saskatchewan, he achieved professor emeritus status in 2002. He was honored by being named as the Teacher of the Year at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan for two years.  He was a remarkable model for generations of medical students and was a respected and highly valued colleague and leader.  Dad loved the prairies and was a passionate ambassador for any new colleagues, tasked with showing them the highlights of Saskatoon and ultimately encouraging them to move to the wonderful “City of Bridges”. 

He holds the MRCP from London and fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Cardiology, as well as, fellowship with the American College of Cardiology and served as President of the Canadian Pediatric Association for two years.

Our Dad had a great sense of humor and wonderful philosophy for life, work and people which was one of a kind.  To quote one of his colleagues – “he was kind and knowledgeable and stood up for his patients and his beliefs.  There should be more people like him in this world”.   On a personal note, he was able to recite a song, quote, or anecdote for every occasion. Although, it made our eyes roll, we secretly love and will remember all of them... 

Dad’s leisure interests included playing bridge where he proudly achieved a “Life Master” status.  His happy places were Hawaii and Waskesiu and his final trip, taken in August of 2022 with his family to one of his favorite places, England. He was a supporter of the arts, an avid reader, he loved golf, hiking and walking with his dog, Rusty. 

We are certain that he is now walking the grasslands with Rusty…

Our family would like to thank the Ashwood care team at the Providence Care Centre for their kindness and care during the last months of his life.

Formal funeral services are not planned. Instead of flowers, please donate to one of Michael’s favorite charities: The Salvation Army  https://www.salvationarmysaskatoon.org/ or Make-A-Wish Canada https://makeawish.ca/donate.

 

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