In Memory of




Obituary for Wendy Lynn MITCHINSON

Mitchinson, Dr. Wendy Lynn
1947 - 2021

After enduring with great courage and grace the consequences of dementia associated with Primary Progressive Aphasia, Wendy Mitchinson died on October 23, 2021 at Sakura House in Woodstock.

The greatly loved partner for 50 years of Rex Lingwood, Wendy was also a cherished sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and great-aunt. She is lovingly remembered by her brother Michael Mitchinson and his wife Donna, her brother-in-law Robert Lingwood and his wife Aileen, nieces Leslie Mitchinson and Sandra Sluga, nephews Stephen Mitchinson, Jeffrey Lingwood, Allan Lingwood, and David Lingwood, great-nephews Cameron, Colin, Owen, Thomas, Evan, and Aiden, and great-nieces Sophia and Eliana. Wendy was predeceased by her parents Cameron and Francis Mitchinson (nee Davis). She enriched all our lives beyond measure.

Wendy was a pioneering women’s historian. Following her PhD studies at York University, she held academic appointments at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, the University of Windsor, and the University of Waterloo where she held the Canada Research Chair in Gender and Medical History (2006-2013). Wendy twice received the Jason A. Hannah medal for her books on medical history. Together with Alison Prentice, Paula Bourne, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Beth Light and Naomi Black, she wrote Canadian Women: A History, the first comprehensive study of women in Canada that earned her a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. In addition to producing three groundbreaking books about the history of the medical treatment of women and one about the history of obesity in Canada, she was the author of many articles and edited, co-edited and contributed essays to numerous books. She was a scholar in residence at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy (1996), the Valparaiso Foundation in Mojácar, Spain (1998), and the Bogliasco Foundation in Bolgiasco, Italy (2007). Wendy ended her career as a Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Waterloo.

Wendy was a dedicated, supportive, and much-loved supervisor and mentor to scores of graduate students who established distinguished careers both within and outside the academy. According to her students, she was their role model, their guide, their support, their advocate, and their very best critic. Her strengths in graduate teaching led UW to award her a highly coveted award of excellence in graduate supervision in 2013.

Wendy was a great believer in work-life balance; she travelled widely, was an enthusiastic and prolific gardener, and found joy in her dogs and cats and in the natural world.

Friends and colleagues have often remarked that “she had a smile that could light up a room”. Her default position was invariably one of optimism and friendliness, and she, with great humour, referred to herself at times as ‘little Miss Sunshine’. This persona somewhat disguised her iron will, exceptional intelligence, and great capacity for hard work.

Wendy wore her many accomplishments very lightly and will be greatly missed by colleagues, friends, and former students.

At Wendy’s request there will be no funeral. A celebration of her life will take place at a later date.
Memorial donations to The Wendy Mitchinson Graduate Award in History at the University of Waterloo ( or to Sakura House Woodstock ( would be greatly appreciated.