It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lynn Mainland. Lynn was the cherished wife of Pierre Gratton and mother of Maya Mainland-Gratton, as well as the beloved owner of dogs Jasmine and Pippa and cats Littlefoot, Shibou and Lily. She was the daughter of Pauline (nee Tilley) and John Robert Mainland (both deceased), beloved sister of Sue Mainland and sister-in-law of Tom Collins. She will also be sorely missed by mother-in-law Irene Tomaszewski, brother-in-law Richard Gratton and family and the rest of the Tomaszewski clan.
Born in Derby, England, Lynn was a graduate of King’s College, Cambridge in history (M.A., M. Phil) and moved to Canada in 1991 to begin a PhD in political science at McGill University where she met her future husband, Pierre. Together, they lived and worked in Edmonton, Quebec City, Ottawa and Vancouver, settling for a second time in Ottawa where they have lived since 2011. For many years, she worked for the Government of Canada, mostly at Health Canada, where she made many friends. However, her “greatest accomplishment”, in her words, was the birth of her daughter, Maya, in 1999. She loved to travel, was an avid reader of mystery novels and history and a lover of animals — she never a year spent without a cat or dog in her life. A trip to Italy in 2013 was dubbed the dead Roman tour, a lifelong dream to visit Roman ruins (supplemented by similar trips to Spain, France and the UK), and in 2018 she travelled to Botswana for an unforgettable visit to Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.
In early 2013, Lynn was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. With a will to live, and thanks to the excellent care of the Ottawa Cancer Program and the support of her family, she fought this horrible disease with determination and courage for over six years.
Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of Lynn’s life at Beechwood Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Services, 280 Beechwood Ave., Ottawa on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at noon until the time of the memorial service at 2 pm in the Sacred Space, on what would have been Lynn’s 51st birthday.
Donations may be made to the Ottawa Humane Society or the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
No one could dress-down someone as politely and eloquently as Lynn. I have kept some of this emails as a reminder of how fantastic a person she was. I will be forever grateful for the time I was fortunate enough to spent as her colleague and her friend.
I had the pleasure and honour of working with Lynn at Health Canada for several years. She was as compassionate as she was brilliant; genuine, thoughtful and kind. She was instrumental in helping me grow and learn as a public servant, as a person, and eventually as a new mom. Her love and devotion for her family was always present and her ethics paramount. Pierre and Maya, these are challenging days and months ahead but we hope you can find some solace in the many gifts Lynn had and shared, and how she made so many peoples’ lives a lot better for having been such a beautiful person, trusted colleague and advocate for so many. Jodi and Anthony
Pierre and Maya,
Sending so much love from the Lutterman-Lippman clan in NYC. Lynn was formidable, funny, and unforgettable. And she loved both of you fiercely, and completely. So sorry for your loss. May her memory be a blessing.
Lynn was a great friend. We shared many British commonalities. She had such compassion for family, friends and of course the many animals who were lucky enough to have Lynn in her life. There will be a big hole for all of is who knew and loved Lynn. My heart goes out to Maya and Pierre who were her world. So very sad.
Sylvie Touchette Passiant
So sorry for your loss. I want to offer my deepest sympathy to Pierre and Maya, and all who loved her, including her beloved pets. Lynn and I met at HC, she was kind, such a beautiful person and what a pleasure to be in her presence. I was lucky to meet Lynn with our friend Edith for lunch once in a while, and we could talk about anything and just be ourselves, we felt at ease with each other. She will be missed.
Lynn made it so easy to be her friend. She had a genuine smile and a kind, caring nature. It’s rare to meet someone with such high levels of intellect and emotional intelligence blended seamlessly with humility and grace. She never stopped surprising me with her keen observations about life and the world around us.
Some of my heartiest laughs stemmed from her commentary on the most mundane of topics, whereby ordinary moments quickly dissolved into hilarity. It was as though she had been funny accidentally, but nothing Lynn said was by accident. Her wit was quick and sharp, and sometimes laughter escaped my lips before I realized that that I, myself, was the butt of the joke.
I didn’t know Lynn for very long before she received her cancer diagnosis, but the woman I grew to be close friends with was someone who refused to be defined by her illness. She faced every difficult situation with courage and determination, conjuring hope, fostering gratitude and somehow just finding a way to make the best of every day. I learned so much about how to live life authentically by being around her.
Pierre and Maya, I am very sorry for your loss. You two were her everything. Please accept my deepest condolences. I know that Lynn will live on forever in our hearts.
Carol Payne and John Collins
Dear Pierre and Maya,
We were so very sad to learn of Lynn’s passing. Her intelligence, wit and warmth lit up every conversation. Lynn will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Above all, Lynn’s love and devotion to you, Pierre and Maya, was inspiring. Even in the midst of this horrible loss, her love is with you and will remain with you forever.
With sincere condolences,
Carol, John, Meg & Alice
Pierre and Maya, I am so sorry for your immense loss. I am glad that I was able to get to know Lynn over the last couple of years during my visits to Ottawa. Her courage, strength and will to live were an inspiration. I will remember her with great fondness. I wish you both strength during this terrible time.
Dear Pierre, Maya and extended family:
Lynn and I had many email exchanges and she was a knowledgeable, funny and well-read correspondent. Gone too soon. Condolences to all in your time of loss, Christine
Irene and Vic Ledsham
We first met Lynn when she visited our Art Gallery in Edmonton. She and Pierre were newly weds and had not been long in Edmonton.
Besides the art which she loved and appreciated, I think she enjoyed that we were from the UK.
Very soon we became like family with this beautiful lady. She was wonderful to be with, great sense of humour, interesting, intelligent, strong, loving and caring.
She will be sadly missed by all whom came in contact with her and we feel honoured to have known her.
Pierre and Maya ..... know that you are surrounded by love and compassion and the memory of Lynn will live forever.
Irene and Vic
Dear Pierre and Maya,
I had the pleasure of working with Lynn for several years, and I have to say she has always remained one of my favourite ex-colleagues because she was so incredibly smart, capable, and because she was someone who genuinely enjoyed a good laugh. I will never forget her impish grin, her “cat-proof” stockings, and how she would get so excited when I brought home-baked treats in to the office. I was also impressed at her devotion to you both, and at how proud she was of all Maya’s accomplishments. In short, Lynn was a beautiful person and I have regrets that I did not make more of an effort to keep in touch over the past year.
I wish you both great strength in the days and weeks to come as I will know you will miss Lynn fiercely. Hopefully, the memories of all of your adventures together and Lynn’s ongoing love for you both will sustain you to some degree.
With sincere sympathy,
I’d known Lynn for a while before the cancer hit. After the shock subsided, we were able to enjoy many an afternoon- in the British style, with choccy bickies and strong brewed tea! We sparred about Britain and with great humour, she accepted my many digs and jabs at the once great Monarchy and Empire. With so much hanging over her, she remained funny and warm, well-read and brilliant. There were dogs everywhere- large and small, they seemed part of her! I thought I would have many more afternoons- much more tea.
I was performing the Elgar Sea Pictures and thought it a great idea to have the poems, by the composer’s wife, read before each song. What a great adventure it would be for Lynn to go to Toronto to read in performance with orchestra. As we tried to edit and prune, we laughed at the verbose Victoriana of Lady Elgar’s poetry. The concert went wonderfully, with Lynn’s voice capturing just the right nuance of the words. The occasion will be well remembered.
She was devoted to her family and loved Pierre and Maya passionately. Somehow, I know she will be there with them always.
My heart is heavy, but I send it to you dear Pierre and Maya.
Pierre and Maya:
I am thankful that I had a chance to get to know Lynn over the years. I always enjoyed her quick wit and sense of humour at the MAC Christmas parties. I will forever be inspired by her strength.
Dear Pierre and Maya, there is nothing anyone can say or do to take away the pain and emptiness you are feeling from the loss of your darling Lynn. My conversations with her, over our years working together, often revolved around the animals in her life and how dear they were to her and you both. I hope that the warm noses of Jazzi and Pippa along with the purrs of Littlefoot, Shibou, and Lily provide you with some comfort at this deeply raw time. Her love of them and the both of you was deep, true and never ending. She was a remarkable women.
Pierre and Maya.
I can only imaging how difficult this time has been for you and my heart aches. This disease has taken so many great people, it is simply frustrating. I hope that your memories of Lynn and your lives together give you peace as you move forward, one step at a time, one minute at a time, into the future. Hugs to you.
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Dear Pierre and Maya:
I was so very sorry to hear of Lynn's passing. My heartfelt condolences and I wish you both strength in your healing. I am sure you have many wonderful memories to remember her by as you had many incredible family experiences together (in the day to day, and on world excursions).