FLASHBACK: Olga Rampersaud as a young woman travelling in Amsterdam —Photo courtesy FITZPATRICK family

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Caring and considerate

Dr Olga Mavis Rampersaud

By Submitted by the Fitzpatrick family

Dr Olga Mavis Rampersaud MRCS, LRCP; DGO; MRCOG; LMCC; DPH; FRCOG, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist; Associate Medical Officer of Health died on December 3, in Toronto, Canada after an extensive battle with Parkinson's disease.  

Rampersaud was born in Trinidad, to Sevkinandan Rampersaud and Sukhyia Bola Kesur.  

She later attributed her success to her father who defied the tradition of the time, sending her to pursue further educational opportunities in far-off places. Her commitment to education led her to support many of her nieces and nephews to pursue their own higher education. Rampersaud is survived by her sisters, Enid Fitzpatrick and Diane Ali, as well as her half brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. 

In 1959 she became the first woman born in the then British West Indies and residing there to obtain the MRCOG the specialty qualification of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London England.

Later in recognition of her contribution to the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rampersaud was elected by the Royal College to the Fellowship of the College and received the FRCOG. This honour was rewarding and also gratifying because it acknowledged the importance of the task to which she had devoted the majority of her working life.

She completed her secondary education at St Joseph's Convent in Port of Spain and subsequently went by 'Sea Plane" to McGill University in Montreal, Canada where she completed two years of the BSc course. She was then awarded in 1944 a British Council Scholarship, which took her to the University of Liverpool, England to obtain her medical training. Rampersaud had an exciting trip as she had to cross the Atlantic from Halifax, Nova Scotia in an Armed Forces ship in Convoy Formation to avoid enemy attack.

While the English country was very different to the small island she had left, Rampersaud did not find great cultural differences. Albeit, she with her dark complexion was an oddity to the children, this being a time when England was not ethnically diverse, she was quickly immersed in University student life and social activities. She was fortunate that as an overseas student she was able to stay in University residence so avoiding the adjustments of living in private digs,

During holidays she would travel across Europe with one or other of her classmates, seeing so many countries. During significant holidays, Christmas etc she would be, invited to the homes of her friends and would be welcomed into their families. Rampersaud made lifelong friendships and kept in touch with her friends and their children as far away as Australia.

During her life, Rampersaud was listed in numerous international biographical works and also in the Who's Who in Ontario 1995-1999 edition. She received in Toronto, a Canadian-Indo Caribbean OSSIC Award for outstanding personal achievement and service to humanity from Dr Hedy Fry, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

Rampersaud travelled extensively throughout Europe, on the HMS Queen Mary from Southhampton to New York, on cruises through the Panama Canal, to Alaska and the Greek islands and Turkey.

She believed that true satisfaction lay not only in receiving from society but, more so, in returning that which we are able.

This tells Rampersaud's story mostly from a professional point of view and it is really appropriate as it was her true focus.

But there was another personality hidden away. She was caring and considerate keeping a watchful eye on individuals in need and often trying to assist them in making changes. People would confide in her because they would be assured of help. She was generous, sometimes running into problems because of unforeseen hurdles. She believed, like her father, that education was the best gift you can give to anyone. She followed the career of her young nieces and nephews and was proud of their achievements.

Her hope was that she touched and encouraged those with whom she made contact as they inspired her in her pursuits.

Rampersad's funeral service takes place today at the Holy Rosary Church, Bathurst and St Clair Ave West, 354 St Clair Ave Toronto, at 10 a.m., followed by a reception at the church. Additional memorial services will be held in Trinidad, date and time to be announced.

The family requests that instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Parkinson's Society of Canada.  

— Submitted by the Fitzpatrick family

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