Canadian Medical Association

Hudson, Que.; McGill University, 1961; dermatology. Died June 22, 2017, aged 83. “Her zest to excel and an innate stubbornness spilled into her dedication to ridding the world of toxic pesticides. Research, lab tests and all related costs were borne from her own pocket. She would rather not eat than allow the cause to fail. Her pioneering diligence caught the eye of many reporters, TV hosts, magazines and politicians, especially in Hudson. Five decades of intense fighting for toxic-free communities were victorious in June 2003 when Hudson became the first city in Canada to ban pesticides.” In 2001, Susan Pinker wrote in CMAJ: “Dr. June Irwin has whittled her routine down to the basics of life. The basics mean being the sole physician in a busy dermatology practice, while tending to the daily needs of over 100 chickens, 29 sheep and 25 geese on her farm. When she’s not examining rashes or keeping coyotes out of the henhouse, Dr. Irwin focuses on her other preoccupation — documenting the effects of pesticide exposure on health. ‘That’s what’s good about living on a farm,’ she says while leaning on her shepherd’s crook. ‘You learn to follow the rules of nature.’ ”