Mary-Wynne Ashford (17 March 1939 – 19 November 2022)

Portrait of Mary-Wynne Ashford

By Gordon Edwards, World BEYOND War, November 21, 2022

In memory of a great leader and a lovely woman, Mary-Wynne Ashford.
Always a voice for peace and an inspiration to all of us, physicians and
non-physicians alike.  She will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.
Mary-Wynne Ashford, MD, PhD., a retired Family and Palliative Care Physician in Victoria, BC, and a retired Associate Professor at University of Victoria, became active in nuclear disarmament after hearing Dr. Helen Caldicott speak about nuclear war.

She has been an international speaker and writer on peace and disarmament for 37 years. She was Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) from 1998-2002, and President of the Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War from 1988-1990. She led two IPPNW delegations to North Korea in 1999 and 2000. Her award winning book, Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War, has been translated into Japanese and Korean. She has won many awards including the Queen’s Medal on two occasions, the Award of Excellence from Doctors of BC in 2019 and, with Dr. Jonathan Down, the 2019 Distinguished Achievement Award  from the Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. She taught a free zoom course, Global Solutions for Peace, Equality, and Sustainability sponsored by Next Gen U and IPPNW Canada. The course is about reform of the United Nations to increase its capacity to address the existential crises we face today.

Thank you, Mary-Wynne, for your outstanding example – a life of service to humanity.

4 Responses

  1. It was an honor to have shared a stage with Mary-Wynne: whether in front of high school students or medical professionals her stories were captivating. From reflecting on her meetings with world leaders in Berlin to sitting with tribesmen in Kazakhstan, peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons were always front and centre of the conversation. She spoke as an activist who happened to be a doctor and wise woman. For Mary-Wynne the roles were seamless and her energy and passion for a just world was something special. She was my friend and kindred spirit.

  2. Mary Wynne: Thank you for bring such a great role model, for working to reduce the threat of war, for educating us about peace and for friendship. I will light a candle in memory of how you illuminated so many lives.

  3. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

    Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to meet Mary-Wynne Ashford, though we have common interests in peace and disarmament with the goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, we don’t need to personally meet someone to know them and learn from them.

    I was inspired by Mary, who served as the Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, in which I had the opportunity to attend a number of its activities and campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. In her leadership, Mary left a strong legacy of humanism, human rights, and peace activism for all, everywhere and anywhere.

    She lived a life of faith, dreams, and goals; a life of courage and commitment; a life of purpose, stamina, and advocacy.

    There is no doubt that her presence will be deeply missed. However, I truly believe that her accomplishments and impact can and will continue to live on through every one of us. Let us keep her legacy alive.

    Ghassan Shahrour, MD

  4. I remember Mary-Wynne chairing my first national (of the then) CPPNW meeting. I was struck with the skill, energy and humour with which she ran the meeting. She is irreplaceable.

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