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Biomedical Communications Alumni Association


Carolyn Teare-Richardson, BScAAM '79

Alumna Carolyn Teare-Richardson (BScAAM ‘79) passed away on July 6, 2018 at the age of 62. Her obituary describes her as a beloved wife of 39 years, daughter, mother and grandmother. Carolyn, it reads, was known for her compassion, and friends and family “were drawn to her generosity, open spirit and welcoming, accepting nature.”

Carolyn studied drawing, painting and design photography for two years at the Ontario College of Art before she enrolled in Art as Applied to Medicine at the University of Toronto in 1976.

“She was a ray of sunshine and had a wonderful sense of humour,” says Audra Geras (BScAAM ‘79). Audra and Carolyn roomed together when they were students.

Professor Emerita Margot Mackay (BScAAM ‘68) taught Carolyn in the program’s Animal Surgery and Surgical Illustration courses. “The words that come to mind when I think of Carolyn are wonderful, talented, energetic, enthusiastic and a very outgoing individual,” says Margot.

After Carolyn graduated from U of T in 1979, she first moved to Belleville, Ont. In 1980, she wrote to then program director Nancy Joy. “Belleville, as you might guess, is not a hot spot for medical art. However, I have had a few really good jobs from Proctor & Gamble.” She wrote that she “kept busy” designing advertisements for local businesses and learning sign language to work with children at the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf.

Early adopter

Carolyn eventually moved to Vancouver where she joined UBC Biomedical Communications, a network of medical education departments in the various teaching hospitals linked with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine.

Ewan Forbes, who hired Carolyn to work in the Department of Biomedical Communications at St. Paul’s Hospital, says Carolyn was a positive person with an extremely strong worth ethic. He says that while many others were skeptical about the new world of computer graphics, she was enthusiastic and embraced the new technology.

And when budget cuts loomed, Carolyn stood with Ewan to fight to maintain the department. “While three of the four biomedical communications departments in Vancouver closed, including the main centre at the University, ours survived and thrived, and is still the only one that remains open and true to the values of acting as a full support department to the UBC Faculty of Medicine,” says Ewan.

Although he knew Carolyn had numerous medical issues, including Parkinson’s disease, he says he was not prepared for her sudden loss. “Our family and Carolyn’s were the very best of friends. We spent almost every weekend together during the Vancouver years. Her passing was a complete shock.”


It was alumna Jane Rowlands (BScAAM ‘86) who wrote to the U of T Biomedical Communications Alumni Association to say that Carolyn had passed away.

When Jane graduated from Art as Applied to Medicine, she too took a position as a medical illustrator with UBC Biomedical Communications. Jane says Carolyn reached out to welcome her.

“I was a fresh grad from U of T AAM, and from Montréal, so not familiar with Vancouver at all,” says Jane. “She was incredibly welcoming. Carolyn oozed enthusiasm and was so passionate about her work.”

The second-most senior medical illustrator in UBC Biomedical Communications, Carolyn worked at St. Paul’s Hospital until the early 1990s.

Life-long learner

Born in Long Island, NY to a Canadian father and American mother, Carolyn lived in Toronto, Vancouver, Wassenaar, Netherlands, and Cleveland. After she retired, Carolyn studied art in Europe and painted portraits and landscapes into her final days.

Carolyn’s family was with her when she passed away. A service was held July 11 at Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, OH. Although Carolyn’s family did not identify a specific destination for donations, they did request that memorial gifts be made to Parkinson’s research.

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