Kelen, Marian Grace Francis, 1922-2014

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Kelen, Marian Grace Francis, 1922-2014

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Marian Grace Francis Kelen was born on January 10, 1922, in Oxford, England, the daughter of William Willoughby Francis, M.D. (1878-1959) and Hilda Francis ( -1963).

She was a Canadian physician. She grew up in Oxford, England, where her physician father catalogued the immense collection of historical medical books that his famous cousin, Sir William Osler, had bequeathed to McGill University. Popsie, as known to close friends and family, an only child, spent her first years at the grand home of the Oslers and grew up immersed in the lore, teachings, and spirit of Sir William Osler. When she was six, her family moved to Montreal, where she spent her early days roller-skating around the McGill campus while her father established the school's Osler Library of the History of Medicine. Following in her father's footsteps, Popsie studied medicine at McGill, one of the few women in her class. She also joined the McGill Outing Club, where she met Andrew Kelen (1918–2007), a medical student who would become her beloved husband of 60 years. Andy and Popsie did their residency together at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. They moved to the rural community of Ormstown, Quebec, where there was a group practice of physicians who offered affordable health care before the days of Medicare. While Andy worked as a general practitioner and internist, Popsie stayed home to raise their five children: Michael, Sari, Steve, Susan, and Wendy. When her youngest child was ten, Popsie returned to work as a GP specializing in women's health. Her patients loved and appreciated her not only for her medical skills but also because she sincerely cared about them and took the time needed to attend to them. She thrived in the company of friends and family and loved hosting dinner parties around the old oak table. She was also a poet, inspired to write on special occasions such as the birth of a grandchild or the departure of a family member to Africa. Until a few weeks before her death, she was an omnivorous reader. She had an encyclopedic memory of medical knowledge and was known for her many quotations ranging from A. A. Milne to Shakespeare. In 2003, after 55 years of village life, Popsie and Andy moved to Ottawa. Happy to be closer to two of their children and one of their nine grandchildren, they enjoyed a busy life that included skiing in the Gatineau Hills and swimming. Andy passed away three years later. After coming to terms with the loss of her beloved, Popsie continued, always cheerful. In 2007, she suffered a stroke but persevered in her seniors' residence.

She died on January 29, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario.


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