In Memoriam

BETH ARMOUR, BA (Western), MEd (McGill), Dietetic Internship, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal (-June 28 2020).

Beth was a Faculty Lecturer / Clinical Coordinator in our SHN Dietetics Stage Program for two decades from 1976-1994. More recently she made her impact as Content Manager for Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN®). She was active in introducing SHN students to this important resource, and in supervising our students in developing new topics. She was the recipient of the Dietitians of Canada 2019 Member Recognition Award (Education) where she was “recognized for her tireless leadership and outstanding mentorship in dietetics education, with a particular emphasis on her work integrating into student learning. She was a role model for professional and evidence-informed practice – leading for her work ethic and engaging, challenging, and supporting students in critical appraisal, synthesis of literature, and application of evidence to dietetics practice.” Well-know for her sense of humour, Beth was a good friend of many in the School.

Obituary Announcement - Beth Armour

SUSAN E. MORGAN, RD, MEd (McGill) (-Aug 16, 2005)

Susan attended the College of Domestic Arts in Cardiff where she obtained her Bachelor of Education Honors. She taught home economics at Bedford Pilgrim School and later attended Queen Elizabeth College in London to study Dietetics. In Montreal, she earned a Masters degree of Education from McGill University. Emigrating to Canada in 1975, Susan worked as a Dietitian at the Lakeshore General Hospital. In 1979 she began as a Clinical Coordinator with the McGill Dietetics Stage program leaving in 1990 to work as Manager of Clinical Nutrition at the Montreal General Hospital. In 1992, she moved to Toronto and was employed in a number of consulting dietitian positions. Since 1999 her major contract was managing the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research.

Obituary Announcement - Susan E Morgan

MARGARET KESTENBAUM, RD, MBA (McGill) (-June 24 2020).

A graduate of McGill’s Dietetics program herself, Margaret was a mentor to dietetics students as a Faculty Lecturer / Clinical Coordinator in the School from 1988-1997. After working at Mead Johnson in Marketing and Regulatory Affairs, she has most recently been Senior Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Danone Medical Nutrition. She continued to be a good friend of School members and was active in the School supervising stage students.

Obituary Announcement - Margaret Kestenbaum



DIANE RAYMOND, MSc, Professor (-September 14, 2017)

Diane obtained her Bachelor of Home Economics from the University of Manitoba in 1941 and then joined the Canadian Air Force, serving her Country as a food quality supervisor in the European theatre during the war until 1946. She returned to Montreal and worked for Eaton’s Food Services Quality Control from 1946 to 1961, and then as a Food Services Professor at Macdonald College, McGill University from 1961 until her retirement in 1985. She obtained a Master of Science degree in dietary technology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 while at McGill University. She was very generous in contributing to many charities and causes. She was the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Volunteer Award as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.

Obituary Announcement - Diane Raymond

FLORENCE FARMER, PhD, Professor (-March 29, 2017)

A Resolution on the death of Florence Amelia Farmer, Professor of Nutrition

The life of Florence Farmer begins on Maple Avenue in Ste Anne de Bellevue in 1919. In 1938, the young Florence entered McGill’s Macdonald Campus. Upon graduation with a BSc in Household Science, Florence enrolled in graduate studies in Nutrition. Under the supervision of Dr Crampton, the first professor of Nutrition in Canada, Florence completed her MSc in 1944 and her PhD in 1947, a year after establishment in 1946 of the first department of Nutrition in Canada. Dr Farmer often described herself as the first female to earn a PhD in the first department of nutrition in Canada. As a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the department, Dr Farmer also became the first female Professor of Nutrition in Canada.

From 1947-1959, Dr Farmer taught Nutrition and had an active research program. With Dr Crampton, she oversaw the development of the first animal research facility and created the first prototype of a metabolic cage for experimental laboratory animals. Her research focused on the use of a bioassay to measure Vitamin C content of foods and feeds and to identify the metabolic consequences of biologically active thyroproteins used at the time to increase milk production. She was also among the first to assess the nutritional content of indigenous foods and to conduct extensive research on the nutrient composition of foods for both the Army Medical Research Committee of the National Research Council and for the Department of National Health and Welfare of Canada. This work was the forerunner to current food composition tables published by both USDA and Health Canada.

In 1964, upon her return from teaching nutrition at the Women’s Christian College in Madras India, she was hired by Professor Helen Neilson, Head of the School of Household Science, to teach nutrition and food science to dietitians. During this active period as a member of the Schools of Household Science and Food Science, she established the first sensory evaluation laboratory at McGill, conducting organoleptic studies on irradiated foods.

She also continued her interest in human nutrition. At the behest of the Executive Director of the Montreal Diet Dispensary, Agnes Higgins, the research trio of Professors Farmer, Moxley and Crampton evaluated the impact of the “Higgin’s Method” to reduce the incidence of low birth weight among Montrealers. These findings led to international recognition that maternal malnutrition could impact maternal health and lower infant birthweight and resulted in the establishment of the Women, Infants and Child Nutrition (WIC) Program in the US and to similar nutrition supplementation programs for pregnant and lactation women throughout the world.

Dr Farmer ended her 40 year teaching career in the mid-eighties. She will be remembered by current faculty who were her students as a dynamic, committed professor, passionate about nutrition and who always wore ‘bobby socks’. The beloved teacher passed away at the age of 98 on March 29, 2017 in Sarnia, Ontario, and was laid to rest at the Lakeview Cemetery in Pointe Claire Quebec. She is survived by 10 nieces and nephews.

Respectfully submitted on May 12, 2017 by Dr Kristine Koski, Former Director of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Florence Farmer - PhD Thesis - 1947

HELEN NEILSON, MBE (military), Professor, Emeritus Professor of Food Science (McGill), B.H.Sc., MSc, DtP, Dietetic Internship, Royal Victoria Hospital  (-December 2, 2006)

Born in Quebec City in 1914 to H.I. Neilson R. C.A. and Matilda Anne Greene, Helen received her undergraduate degree from McGill University and completed a dietetic internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. She served from 1942-1946 in the Royal Canadian Air Force where she was a squadron leader in charge of food services in the Eastern Air Command and she was made Member of the British Empire (military). After the war, she returned to McGill and completed a M.Sc. in Nutrition (Animal Science). In 1948-49, she was Research Assistant to Dr. F. Tisdall in the Institute of Aviation Medicine, Department of National Defence. In 1949, she was appointed Associate Professor and Director of the School of Household Science, later the School of Food Science, at McGill University. She was promoted to full Professor in 1954 and continued as Director until 1975. During that time, she served for one year (1956-57) in the Technical Assistance Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1977, she accepted an appointment as Principal Lecturer and Chair, Life Management Department, School of Applied Science, Riverina College of Advanced Education, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. She returned to Canada in 1978.
Helen was a member of the McGill University Senate during the turbulent years from 1967 to 1970. In 1977, she received The Queen Elizabeth 25th Anniversary Jubilee Medal. In 1980, Helen was appointed Emeritus Professor of Food Science at McGill. A past President of The Canadian Dietetic Association (1961-62) and Chair of numerous committees, Helen received the Stuart Award in 1976 and in 1989 became the first Member Emeritus. In 1985, she received the Mastery for Service Award from Macdonald College, and in 1994, Helen received Le Prix Ross, le prix d'excellence pour la carrière.

In retirement, Helen wrote the histories of Macdonald College and the Anglican Parish of Vaudreuil.

A summer resident of Tadoussac and a member of The Alpine Club of Canada, Helen loved hiking, skiing and fishing.

The Helen R. Neilson Culinary Demonstration Room (Macdonald Campus, McGill University) proudly bears her name.

Helen R. Neilson Retirement Announcement

Obituary Announcement - Helen R. Neilson

Back to top