Memories & Condolences

Karen Elaine Magee Pape

Karen passed away peacefully at home on Saturday June 2, 2018. Daughter of the late Brian and Elaine Magee. Mother of Sarah, Aaron (Lisa Richardson), and loving Nana to Daniela and Jack. Much-loved sister of Brian (Susan) Magee, Ivan Magee and the late Judy (Normand) Baril. Beloved former spouse of Paul Pape. Proud aunt of Brendan, Diana & Charles. Karen was a pillar of strength for her family with an enormous heart.

A graduate of Havergal College, McGill University and the University of Toronto Medical School, Karen was a neonatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, the Director of the Neonatal Follow - Up Program and the President of the Medical Staff. Widely published, she was instrumental in the development of neonatal ultra sound brain scanning now used in intensive care units around the world. After leaving HSC, Karen became a pioneer in the field of neuroplasticity in children with early brain and nerve injuries. She was a tireless advocate for a revolution in the treatment for children with cerebral palsy. Karen captured this work in her recently published book, The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk.

She was a rebel with a cause who took no prisoners nor suffered fools. Karen took the road less travelled by and that made all the difference to thousands of her patients and their families. To the end, Karen was still thinking of ways to advocate for improving the treatments available for children with early brain and nerve injuries. She did not go gentle into that good night. In the weeks before her death, Karen endowed a foundation to provide funds to continue her work in this field.

Her family would like to thank Wing Lam and Pia Stampe for their support.
There will be a celebration of Karen’s life on Tuesday June 12, 2018 at The Rosedale Golf Club from 4 to 7pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider a donation to Karen’s foundation.

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Marguerite Senecal
Karen was a Brave Pathfinder, a Courageous Truth-teller and an Extraordinary Scientist. She was always ready to ask the next question and to challenge the most entrenched dogma and assumptions, even her own. I interviewed and filmed Karen when she was first working with a young child, Michelle Kungl, who was given a bleak prognosis for a short, dependent life, and who is thriving today at 35, (see above tribute). I am in awe of the strength of Karen's convictions, her utter refusal to take 'no' for an answer and her astounding persistence and perseverance. In 2003 Karen agreed to be included in "Northern Lights: Outstanding Canadian Women". I hoped that young women reading her story would be encouraged by how she found her way into her chosen field, and uplifted by her discoveries and enduring commitment to both her patients and the advancement of science. Personally, I loved her sharp mind and her sense of humour, and found her uncensored language refreshing and bracing. Saying what she saw, no holds barred with people she trusted, seemed to help her to cope with the upset she felt when her ideas and discoveries were met at times with a stubborn refusal to explore and question. She was tough in the best sense. In her own words, she had a "less than conciliatory personality", (which has its advantages). But she was also a woman of great sensitivity and empathy, who cared and loved deeply, and understood the human condition. We have lost a truly Outstanding woman, physician and Canadian. We can best honour her by carrying her mission forward with a similar passion. Thank you Karen, for making the world a better place for all of us and for shining your brilliant light into corners of ignorance and darkness.