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WICKETT-NESBITT, Beatrice Enid, C.M., B.A., M.A., D.Ed., LLD

Died on September 10, 2012, at the age of 95, in Calgary, Alberta, with her daughter and cherished friends at her side. She was predeceased in 1976 by her first husband John Cameron Wickett and in 2002 by her second husband Herbert Hugh John Nesbitt. She was also predeceased in 1953 by her daughter Barbara Jean Wickett and in 2006 by her son John Cameron Wickett. Left to mourn are her daughter Marni Laird (David), grandchildren Michael Smith, John Wickett, Holly Smith Pashniak, Robert Wickett (Adele) and Michael Wickett (Mimi), as well as nine great grandchildren. She is fondly remembered by stepchildren Eleanor Nesbitt, Thomas Nesbitt (Susan Burgess), David Nesbitt (Deborah) and Robert Nesbitt (Deanna).

Bea was born in Alberta and completed her secondary education there. She received a B.A. Honours in psychology at Acadia University, where she was an accomplished member of the Girls’ Basketball Team. Her M.A. was earned at Brown University and she completed graduate courses at McGill University. Bea received an Honorary Doctorate of Education from Acadia University in 1980 and a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from Carleton University in 1995.

Her career in psychology began with working with Dr. Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute during the war years. After the war she concentrated on her family and private consulting. In 1961 she was Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and from 1962 until her retirement in 1983 was Chief Psychologist at the Ottawa Board of Education. There she established programmes for special needs and disadvantaged children; one of her proudest accomplishments was the “Step-by-Step” programme where volunteers were matched with emotionally disturbed children, a programme that spread both in Canada and abroad. She also set up a unique in-house staff counseling programme, the first of its kind in Canada. After retirement from the Board, she helped form the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Palliative Care Association and was resident psychologist with the palliative care unit at Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre.
In 1986 she was honored with the Order of Canada for her innovative programmes for emotionally disturbed and autistic pupils in the school system. Bea received many other awards such as the Award of Merit from the Ontario Psychological Association for outstanding professional achievement, the Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation Meritorious Award, the Canadian Rehabilitation Council’s “Most Innovative Program of the Year” Award and the Margaret Griffiths Award from the Council on Aging. In 2007 she received the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to the CPA. She also sat on the Board of Directors for several charitable agencies and participated in many executive advisory committees. This past May she was presented with the Diamond Jubilee medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Bea was an incredibly caring person, always positive, and very strong. She never complained, always choosing to accept adversities as challenges. She loved her family and she loved her friends. A true humanitarian, Bea devoted herself to making this world a better place for everyone − particularly for children and the disadvantaged. She created innovative programmes that benefited those who needed help and many of these were adopted by communities across the country. She lived by her strong belief that “The very cornerstone of our profession is compassion. Let us not forget that, despite the trauma and complexities of today’s challenges”. Bea was a very active volunteer with such agencies as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Regional Palliative Care Committee, the Big Sister Association and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Her ashes will be buried at a later date in Aurora Ontario. For those who are unable to attend Bea’s funeral but would like to send condolences, they may be forwarded through

If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the Dr. Bea Wickett Fund, The Canadian Psychological Foundation, 141 Laurier Ave. W. Suite 702 Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3.

In living memory of Beatrice Wicket-Nesbitt a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403)243-8200

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Condolence Messages

  1. Bea will be remembered for her skills as an innovative psychologist and “doer”…she accomplished so much! I met her through a friend and was smitten by her grace, generosity, clear thinking and ability to solve “the problem.” Her friendship was cherished, her company relished!
    My deepest condolences to her family and many friends.
    Eleanor Moore

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  2. Hello Marni,

    I am not sure if you remember me, I am the unit clerk at the C3 program that your Mom used to come to.
    I just wanted to know how honored I was to have known your Mom, she was such a classy lady.

    My deepest sympathy,
    Cindy Schug

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  3. Sheelagh mercier :

    Dear Marnie, I feel very priviledged to have known Bea. Her charm, warmth, beauty, generosity and integrity were inspiring. I will treasure my memories of her as I am sure that you will too.
    Warmest regards,
    Sheelagh Mercier

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  4. Dear Marni,We were very sorry to hear the sad news about your mother today. On behalf of my parents, Bill and Yvonne Chapman we would like ot offer our deepest condolences to your and your family. My parents have been long time firends of your mother. Dad now 94 and Mom 85 still live in their home on 20 Chinook Crescent and I will call them later today to tell them about your Mother. It was thanks to your mon that Ed and I had our wedding reception at the Royal Ottawa Golf club almost 30 years ago and I still remember the wonderful Christmas parties when your parents lived in the Glebe. Your mom was one sharp lady.
    Our thoughts are with you.


    Lindy Chapman

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  5. MGen (retd) Wilson (aka Bill) G. Leach :

    Dear Marni: My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours on this very sad occasion. You probably don’t remember me, but I first met your father in 1949 when I was a Veteran in First Year Medicine at UWO, when he hired me as his technician to look after his animals. He was doing experiments in wound healing as part of his Master’s Programme. That began a friendship that continued from then until the time he retired from the CFMS. Whatever success I’ve accumulated in the Service, I attribute in large part to him and your Mom. Bea was a wonderful lady in every respect, and I was sorry to lose contact with her after she moved to Calgary. I’ll be 89 later this month, and know of only one other officer from the Medical Branch who is still living.
    I’d like to be able to continue reminiscing with you, and if you feel the same, I’ll authorize the Funeral Home to release to you my e-mail address.
    Most sincerely

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  6. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of Bea’s family; especially to Marni, Holly, and my old friend Mike. Although it has been 30 years, I still speak of her at times and think of her often. Her sincerity, intelligence and devotion are all things I remember to this day. Our times together at the lake with Marni, Mike and Holly will always mean so much to me. I will miss you Grandma Wickett…your memory will live in all of our hearts and minds forever.

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  7. Ingrid Osborne (Smistad) :

    Marni, I worked at the reception desk at Eau Claire and was so honoured to have met your mother. She was a lovely, caring woman with a great sense of humour. I have managed to keep up on her through staff that I keep in touch with. I am so glad that I had a chance to meet your mother and have our ‘little chats’ at night. I’m sure you will miss her terribly but we are all just that much better off for having known her. My condolences to you and family.

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  8. Marni and David,

    I was so sorry to read about the passing of your mother. She was clearly an impressive woman. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss.

    Karen McBean

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  9. Marni, I don’t know whether you will remember my husband David and me. David was honoured to be Michael’s godfather, and we have fond memories of visiting with your young family, in Halifax and at your parents’ beautiful home in the Glebe. A few years after that, I had the pleasure and privilege of briefly touching base again with your mother, when I was a volunteer with the OBE’s Step-by-Step program. We send you and your family our most sincere condolences on your loss.

    Joan Harrison

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  10. Charlotte Caton :

    Dear Marni and family,
    I extend to you all my heartfelt condolences. Regrettably, I only knew Bea in her later years and did not fully realize all her amazing accomplishments, although I did know she received the Order of Canada.
    Bea’s keen interest in her family, especially her great-grandchildren, and her inclination in conversation to ask questions rather than talk about herself were very evident.
    Her increasingly frail but stately presence will be missed by those who knew her even a little.

    Charlotte Caton

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  11. Conny and Ben Barry :

    Hi Marni,

    It is with much sadness and many, many, many fond memories that Ben (Benji – to Bea) and I send you our heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved mother. She WAS a true friend and mentor to me, an “aunt” to Benji, a colleague to my late beloved Bill and a dear, dear friend to me. Our relationship goes back to the early “70”s when she hosted an engagement party for Bill and myself. In the ensuing years she stood by me when Bill died and Ben had been born at a birth weight of under 2 pounds. She along with Bert took “Benji” as one “of her many children”, wrote him a letter of reference to ensure his entrance into Elmwood School and cheered him on as her own child. She and Bert regularly entertained us, read him stories and was always interested in his progress. He went on to graduate as Head Boy at Ashbury, graduated with his PhD from Cambridge this past May and is now an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. Bea was present (as the attached picture denotes) when Ben published his first book as well as when He was received an award from Michael Jean (Governor General) in Commemoration of the Persons” Case where women got the right to vote.

    We loved Bea and think of her often and have missed her so much when she moved to Calgary!

    We send you and your family our sincere sympathies on your loss.

    Much love always,

    Conny and Ben Barry

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  12. I had the pleasure of working with Bea at the Council on Aging of Ottawa-Carleton in the late 80’s. That was a time when there were still “gracious ladies” who could inspire confidence in those of us who were only learning what life was all about but thought we knew it all. Bea always had a kind word and made you feel like your work really mattered. I have thought of her often as one my most inspiring role models. The world has indeed lost one of the last “gracious ladies”. My condolences to her family. Norrma Strachan

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  13. Dr. David Nozick :

    Dear Marni. My most sincere condolences on the passing of your mother. I worked with

    and for your mother at the OBE, she had a pronounced effect on my life and was both a dear friend and a mentor.Recently I published a book, Life’s Lessons,in which I describe in detail that influence.Just to give you one example I quote directly from the manuscript.”I recall one situation when a principal had inappropiately commented on the poor state of my footware. Being from a family of lawyers, I was ready to do battle. Somehow Dr B restored calm and defused the situation, once again showing me firsthand the value of diplomacy.
    DR B was a supportive mentor who wanted the best for her proteges. When I decided to enter my name as a candidate for the director of psychology at a major teaching hospital, Dr B was firmly behind me. I am convinced that my success in obtaining that position was directly related to her influence.”
    Your mother was a compassionate and caring woman who treated her staff like family. In the words of my Jewish background she was a true woman of valor. My sinceres sympathies on her passing,may you be comforted by the fact her values continue to have a major impact on all of us who knew her. DAvid

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  14. Paulette Kinsella :

    It is with such sadness that I read about Dr. Wickett’s passing. It is hard to believe she was 95, as to us she was ageless.
    I was able to get to know Dr. Wickett while she was living with us at Colonel By. Her quiet but strong presence was what made her such an integral part of our community. She was loved by all and I personally thank you for allowing me to be a small part of her life. My sincere condolences to you, Marni and to your family. She was a great role model for so many and has left her mark in so many ways. A truly amazing woman.
    Most sincerely,

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  15. Kathie and Ted Elliott :

    Dear Marni,

    We were so sorry to hear of your Mother’s death. She lived a long and furitful life but it is stil hard to lose a mother.
    We have fond memories of Bea at your cottage on the island in the early 70s. That was when she took such an interest in Louise and kept her busy the whole time we were these. What a treat for us to only have to look after David.

    Please accept our sincere condolences at this sad time.

    Kathie and Ted (

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  16. Dear Marni
    I am sad to hear of your mom’s passing. I have such happy memories of her, though, at my parent’s house in Ottawa over so many years. She always thought of others first in both her professional life and her personal life with her friends and family.

    I am so glad that I was able to see her at the beginning of the summer and take some pictures that I sent to mom and dad. Mom has missed her very much since her move to Calgary. Bea was lucky to have had so many great people that have cared for her over the last few years. She left an indelible mark with all who knew her. Take care.

    Lauri Roche
    Victoria, B.C.

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  17. My sincere condolences to Beatrice’s family and to her friends and colleagues. I was privileged to work with Bea at the Ottawa Board of Education in the early 1980’s and remained in touch until she moved to Calgary. She was an exceptional person whose warmth and empathy was felt by all who knew her, and a uniquely talented psychologist whose skill and insight enriched everyone whose life she touched.

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  18. I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of such a wonderful human being, but a smile quickly came to my face as I reflected on times I spent with her and her husband, Dr. H.H.J. Nesbitt, whom I worked with for many years at Carleton University. She deeply touched the hearts and lives of everyone who knew her.

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  19. From the 4 sons of Elinor (Finch) Davies one of Bea’s cousins. I personally met her in Ottawa in the early 1990’s. Terry lives in Ottawa and knew her.
    Gone but not forgotten

    Kelt, Ken, Terry, Trevor Davies

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  20. Janet Hampson Farrell :

    The Nesbitt family holds a special place in my growing up years in Ottawa, and it was through this association that I came to know Bea. She was also a special friend to my parents, Lloyd and Jean Hampson, and I always loved chatting with Bea at the Little Theatre – a lively mind and a warm heart. With sympathy to all Bea’s family,

    Janet and Jim Farrell, Ottawa

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  21. Bea was the woman I wished I could be. I am so sorry for your loss of her. My heart goes out to you all.

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  22. Dear Marni
    I met your mother about when she and Bert Nesbitt were married. Bert was a member of a group of friends who had been meeting once a month since the 1960’s for dinner and discussion. Bea took to us and we took to her. I particularly enjoyed her engagement with whatever was going on and her ready connection with each of us. I missed her when she moved to Calgary. She was a lovely, lively person. Marni, I remember meeting you at the party for Bea’s 90th birthday. Please accept my condolences which I send with fond memories of Bea.
    Janet Brown.

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