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In memoriam
Feb. 6, 2023

Dr. Juanita Arline McLean


The family of Arline McLean is saddened to announce her passing on Feb. 6, 2023, at the grand age of 83.

Arline was loved. And she loved in turn. She met her future husband Arch at high school in Shelburne, and they shared a 65-year love and a 58-year marriage that saw them have three children (Karyn (partner Andy), Kevin (partner Adrienne) and Chris (partner Danielle) and two grandchildren (Kaia and Sam). She was the beloved aunt of 21 nieces and nephews.

Arline was an adventurer, a world traveller, a trailblazer, a risk taker, a mentor, a fighter and a friend. She was climbing mountains in the rain in her late seventies. She fished for piranhas in South America. She could beat those half her age in a fierce game of golf and was a formidable skip on the curling rink.

Arline grew up in a big and loving family on a small farm in Mulmur, with her mother Margaret and father Howard, and three brothers (Floyd, Errol and Wayne (partner Marion) and four sisters (Luella, Marian (partner Lorne), Pauline (partner Ray) and Ruth (partner Marten).

She fished, milked cows at dawn, rode horses bareback and tended to the livestock, taking on more responsibilities when polio tragically took three of her siblings in 1953.

The family farm, and later the cottage built on the Pine River, became known as Up North and has been a constant part of family life throughout her life. Whether it was the annual summer reunions, Christmas dinners, boiling down syrup in the wee hours of the night or reading on the deck overlooking the pond, she found love and joy in the peaceful hills of Mulmur.

Arline moved to Toronto in her early twenties to study at the University of Toronto, pursuing first a degree in science, then receiving her MD in 1966, and her master's in neurophysiology in 1974. She joined Sunnybrook Hospital as an active staff physician in 1971, specializing in neurology. Her greatest strength lay in teaching and education administration and in 1977, she was appointed through the dean's office at the University of Toronto, as hospital coordinator, undergraduate medicine at Sunnybrook. After a long career, she was appointed associate professor emerita at the University of Toronto in 2010.

In the 1980s, Arline was one of the first neurologists to specialize in neurophysiology. She was a highly respected trailblazer for women in neurology at a time when there were not many women in this specialty. Her dedication to the profession led the way for countless physicians to follow. Arline was instrumental in implementing and leading the Sunnybrook neurophysiology lab for more than two decades before her retirement, a lab that she built and that lives on today, serving countless patients.

In 1993, Arline was appointed acting head of the division of neurology at Sunnybrook, and then in 1994 deputy physician-in-chief in the department of medicine. She was instrumental in that leadership role due to her tremendous wealth of experience in education administration.

Kind, kindness, kind-hearted. These were the words most often used to describe Arline. She loved her family; she was passionate about making others feel included and supported; and she revelled in her friendships with old and new friends alike. She took joy and pride in the achievements of others and is remembered for her mentorship and welcoming smile.

Arline was passionate about her pursuits, in particular curling, golf, learning and saving wayward cats, and she always excelled at everything. She was a champion curler for more than 30 years. She golfed on courses around the world. She earned her second master's in her 50s, and she continued to take French classes into her eighties. She was the first on speed dial for the local vet whenever a cat was in need of care. Her love was reciprocated in kind, with Merlin at her side when she passed.

Arline had a loving soul. She had a kind word for everyone. Her smile was brilliant and beautiful. She was in love with life and fought for every moment until the end.

Arline's was a life well lived. She will be missed. And she will always be loved.

The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to the Toronto Humane Society and The Sunnybrook Hospital department of neurology.