A committed,passionate and effective activist and philanthropist has passed away and left an irreplaceable void in this city. Kappy Flanders died after a courageous battle with cancer. She passed with dignity, at her home, surrounded by her three daughters Susan, Judith and Elle. She was 81.

Flanders was a tireless volunteer committed to the palliative care movement. She was instrumental in the development of the Canadian Palliative Care Initiative, a blueprint for enhancing research, scholarship, and promotion of a standardized system for palliative care across the country. She used her energy, intelligence and conviction in a range of community-based accomplishments within the Jewish community in Montreal, and for McGill University. In a twist of fate, her death comes almost a year after that of another leader in palliative care Teresa Dellar the founder of the West Island Palliative Care Residence, the largest in Canada. Flanders once recounted that she was inspired to become an advocate and activist for palliative care after the deaths of her husband Eric and that of her mother, both from lung cancer, within two years of each other.

Her commitment was always about the “doing” as much as the knowing and the giving. In a speech in Boston in 2011 where she received the CASE Distinguished Friend of Education Award, she said,

“I don’t think of what I do in grand terms. I don’t use words like ‘social conscience’ when thinking about what I do. What I do is to see a gap, a need, and then work to fill that need. I believe that the world needs people with great ideas, but just as much, it needs people to implement those ideas. People who stick with things, worrying away at them, being persistent, getting things done. If someone has a great idea, I’ll work until that idea becomes a reality.”

Kappy Flanders was a tireless volunteer for McGill. She was a Member-at-Large of the Board of Governors from 1998-2007. She served on the Board’s Building and Property Committee. She has been a member of the MNI Advisory Board, member of the McGill Annual Fund, Chair of the Friends Committee, and Founder and Co-Chair of the Council on Palliative Care at McGill. She is also a former member of the McGill Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building. She was instrumental in the organization of Mini-Med, Mini-Music, Mini-Law, Mini-Science, and Mini-Biz, the extraordinarily successful lecture series which forms part of McGill’s outreach into the community.

The Eric M. Flanders Chair in Palliative Medicine was established in 1994, in honor of her late husband who passed away in 1991. The Chair was primarily endowed by Mrs. Flanders, her sister Andrea Bronfman, and her brother-in-law Charles Bronfman.

Within the Jewish Community she served as president of the United Israel Appeal of Canada Women’s Division, chair of the Combined Jewish Appeal Women’s Division and National Missions, and Chaired the Israel Cancer Research Fund. In 1972 she Chaired the first Canadian Women’s Mission to Israel.

In 2003, in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the community, she was awarded the Governor-General’s Meritorious Service Medal. In 2009 she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from McGill and in 2014 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada

Kappy Flanders was educated at the Cheltenham Ladies College and Queen’s College in England and at the Chateau Brillantmont in Switzerland. She was widowed in 1991. Her children, in order of birth, are Susan of New York City; Judith of London, England; Steven of New York City; and Ellen of Toronto. Her late sister, Andrea, was married to Charles Bronfman. She has two granddaughters, Emma and Allie, of New York.

In keeping with her wishes, her body has been left to McGill to further the education of future doctors and scientists. Due to the Coronavirus, there will be no shiva. Memorial service in Montreal to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to the McGill Council on Palliative Care would be much appreciated. (Arnav Manchanda, McGill University, 514-398-2529, Email: arnav.manchanda@mcgill.ca).

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