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LYONS, Dr. Jessica Ellen

November 22, 1978 – Edmonton, AB
January 11, 2014 – Calgary, AB

Dr. Jessica Lyons passed away on Saturday, January 11, 2014 in the presence of her family after a long and courageous battle against cancer.

Jessica was always a lively, boisterous and intelligent person who made many friends through school, work and exchange trips to Quebec, Japan and France. She attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton and graduated with a BSc. and the Dean’s Silver Medal in honors neurology in 2000. In the fall of 2001 she was accepted into the University of Calgary’s School of Medicine and graduated in 2004. She went on to complete her residency in psychiatry by training in Calgary, Alberta and Adelaide, South Australia. Her main interest was in perinatal psychiatry in which she helped mothers connect with their children. Jessica was an avid downhill skier all her life, and enjoyed the outdoors and traveling. She will always be remembered for her love of her family and friends, and most importantly, her son.

She is survived by her husband Jimmy Vantanajal and her 3 year old son Kalen Lyons Vantanajal. She is also survived by her grandmother Tineke Lyons; father in law Sanchai Vantanajal, mother in law Kalaya Vantanajal (Gord); her father Ron Lyons (Brenda) of Edmonton Alberta, her mother Peggy Funk (Jim) of Rosalind Alberta, sister Rachel Jade Lyons, brothers Daniel Hohlbein (Serena), Rory Lyons (Kary) from Lethbridge, Alberta, and Jason Hohlbein from Hinton, Alberta. She was predeceased by her grandparents Ivor and Aileen Dent of Edmonton and her grandfather Fred Lyons of Ryley, Alberta.

A Celebration of Jessica’s life will be held at the Red and White Club (1833 Crowchild Trail N.W.) on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to the Katie Moore Foundation in Jessica’s name. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Jessica Lyons, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Lorraine Folkes :

    I am the mother of one of Jessica’s friends – Susan Taggart. I have been following Jessica through her battle with cancer; and I am so, so sorry she lost the battle. When I saw Jessica last, in September, 2013, I could never have believed she’d not be here today. She was a strong and beautiful woman. I, along with her whole family, mourn the loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy. In remembering her, let’s be thankful she gave the world ‘something’ no one else has or could ever have given- sweet Kalen. Peace and comfort to you all, especially you, Jimmy, and Kalen.l

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  2. I had the privilage of getting to know Jess during her time in Australia when we trained and worked together in Psychiatry at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, and she became a very dear friend of mine. We remained in contact when she returned to Canada and despite the distance, our friendship continued to grow. In addition to her many other talents, Jess had a special gift in connecting with people and an inviting energy that drew people towards her. I will always cherish the memories that I had the privilige in sharing with such a remarkable, kind, and generous woman. My deepest condolescences to Jimmy and Kalen. Jess will remain forever in our hearts. Zain & Chris. Canberra, Australia.

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  3. Maria (Shallow) Williams :

    My heart has been sad since hearing of the news of Jess’s passing. She was such an open and honest person with a big heart. I loved the way she told stories, especially ones that she was shocked by or that she got a kick out of. We worked closely together while she was completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta. She was a student in the lab where I completed my Masters and worked with me one summer. She left an indelible mark on me. I and so sorry for your loss Jimmy and Kalen. My sincere condolences to you and your extended family. She was a bright light and will be missed.

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  4. Erin Whiteley (nee Lasecki) :

    I am very sorry to hear about Jessica’s passing. I was friends with her in high school. She loved acting and actually encouraged me to do it as well. 🙂 We had a lot of fun acting together. She was always very sweet, caring, sincere and upbeat. My heart hurts for her family. God’s peace and blessings be with her loved ones.

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  5. Carmen Kissel-Verrier :

    I was extremely shocked to see this notification of Jessica’s passing. I went to high school with Jessica in Bonnyville. I had not seen or known of what she had accomplished since our time in high school until I read this today. Jessica had obviously become a strong and successful woman throughout these past 18 years. And while I’m saddened to read this today, my heart lept for joy for her to read about her amazing accomplishments as a professional and mother. I remember her sunny disposition well, her bright eyes-this is how I will continue to remember her. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss.

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  6. Curtis Downie :

    Growing up, Jessica and I were close cousins. Our families weren’t always living in the same province but the distance between us didn’t matter as we always picked up where we had left off. The memories of our adventures and laughter are some of the ones I treasure most. We were able to travel to Australia and stayed with Jessica and Jimmy, taking in wineries, body surfing and learning how to do a Tim Tam Slam. Jessica will forever be in my heart as she was a very special and loving person. She had a tremendous amount of love for Jimmy and Kalen and she fought so strongly to stay with them. We will miss Jessica deeply.
    Curtis, Amanda, Jeremy and Talia Downie.

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  7. Gerald and Louise Lyons :

    Jimmy and Kalen, you are in our hearts and in our prayers. Jessica was a lovely woman who was greatly loved and admired, she will be greatly missed by family and friends. We will not be able to attend the memorial for Jessica and are sorry we won’t be able to share some time with you and Kalen, but we love you both and are praying that your family and friends will be a comfort to you. May God comfort you and bless you with peace. Much love and condolences, uncle Gerald and auntie Louise.

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  8. Scott. Lori and Cassidy Dundas :

    Ron and families, our thoughts and prayers are with each of you during this time of sorrow.
    We hope that happy memories keep you strong in the coming days and we pray that God’s love and support bring you peace with the loss of Jessica.
    Our heartfelt condolences to each of you.
    God bless,
    Scott, Lori and Cassidy Dundas

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  9. Dr Paul Cammell :

    Jess was a treasured member of the Flinders and South Australian psychiatry community during the time she spent in Adelaide. She was especially conscientious and compassionate in the ways she cared for her patients, and was very involved in supporting her fellow trainees in psychiatry. She was a bright, thoughtful and engaging person, and it was a pleasure for all of us to work with her and get to know her. We’d all like to offer our deepest condolences to Jimmy and Kalen.

    Sincerely Paul, on behalf of all the members of the Department of Psychiatry at Flinders, and the South Australian Psychiatry Training Committee.

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  10. Kathleen Pierson :

    I had the privilege of working with Jessica for several years as a supervisor for one of her residency research projects. I was always impressed and inspired by the energy, determination and compassion she brought to her clinical work and research. She was undaunted by the challenge of learning new research methods which she taught to herself as well as to me! I always felt that I learned as much or more than she did from our collaboration. She was a gift to those around her and I will miss her very much.

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  11. I have known Jessica’s mother Peggy and the Dent family for many years, and through her aunt Edith have known about Jessica’s amazing accomplishments, her wonderful husband and child, and her brave struggles with her illness. It is so sad to lose such a brilliant and compassionate individual in the prime of her life and at the start of her career. My heart goes out to Jimmy and Kalen and also to Peggy, Charles, Peter and Nick.

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  12. Pat & Ian Perry, Bonnyville, AB :

    Dear Peggy, Jim, and Jimmy,

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences for your loss of your beloved Jessica.

    It was so thoughtful of you to inform us of her passing away by placing her obituary in the Nouvelle.

    What an intelligent and lively young girl she was– so talented and caring. She was delighted in learning, and she taught others compassion through her acting talent. She was a true joy to teach.

    I was so happy to learn that she had been accepted into medical school, and to learn that she specialized in such an important aspect of medicine. Her work truly made a life-long difference to the tiny babies of her patients, and certainly to the wellbeing of society as well. We are all are in her debt.

    Though her life was so sadly shortened by illness, it was beautiful and deeply meaningful. Her spirit will enrich your lives and the lives of all those she touched forever.

    Ian joins me in saying that our hearts go out to you and especially to little Kalen. We have made a donation to the Katie Moore Foundation in Jessica’s honor.

    Pat Perry

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  13. Hello,
    I was very saddened to hear about Jessica’s passing. I was praying for her when I found out about the cancer. I hope that it helped in someway. Thinking of you all.
    Nadim Lalani [Med School Classmate]

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  14. Merle & Peggy Good :

    Dear Ron & Family!
    There are no words to offer to you and your family, other than, we are thinking of you at this time.

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