In Memory of Helen Garrett and Wendy Hotson

Donate to In Memory of Helen Garrett and Wendy Hotson


Wendy Hotson

Gwendolyn Cara Hotson, fondly known as Wendy, was born on May 22, 1947, in St. Thomas, Ontario, to Ralph and Margaret (Peg) Hotson. Ralph's career with the Bank of Montreal led to frequent relocations across southwestern Ontario, but an extended stay in Woodstock allowed Wendy to complete her high school education at Woodstock Collegiate. During this time, her passion for literature led her to work at the local library, complementing her involvement in the Woodstock Little Theater, where she notably portrayed Louise in Carousel. Graduating in 1965, Wendy was celebrated as one of three Ontario Scholars from her school.

Wendy pursued her academic journey at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, ultimately enrolling in the Faculty of Medicine. Throughout medical school, she maintained solid academic standing and forged enduring friendships. However, it was during her final year that she discovered her dual passions: radiology and her classmate, Tom Garrett.

An elective in radiology, under the guidance of Dr. Fransman, sparked Wendy's realization of her professional calling and applied for residencies in that field. After graduation in June 1971, Wendy completed a medical internship at Kingston General Hospital.

Simultaneously, her relationship with Tom blossomed, leading to their marriage in a modest ceremony at the Hotson family home in Simcoe, Ontario, in June 1972.  Wendy joined Tom in New York and embarked on her residency at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. She quickly distinguished herself as a standout performer. Her exceptional teaching skills and clinical acumen earned her widespread recognition and multiple accolades throughout her tenure. In 1999, she accepted a position in the Department of Radiology at New York University Medical Center, further solidifying her reputation as an exemplary clinician and educator.   

Despite her demanding career, Wendy balanced her professional pursuits with her roles as a dedicated wife and mother to two sons, David and John. Her passion for Scrabble and knitting, along with her legendary Christmas Eve dinners that always ended with flaming plum pudding, added richness to her family life. Her love of words and the precision of their use was aptly acknowledged by colleagues with a departure gift of a complete set of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (delivered for $6.00 by Barnes and Noble!).

Wendy and Tom shared a love for travel, exploring destinations across North America and Europe, with Paris holding a special place in their hearts. Despite setbacks, such as the cancellation of their retirement cruise due to Covid-19, they embraced each other's company, finding solace in shared experiences.

Their enduring marriage, spanning over fifty years, was marked by cherished memories and unwavering devotion. As Wendy's health declined, their focus shifted to cherished family moments with their children and grandchildren and leisurely visits to local museums. Their journey together, characterized by love and companionship, left an indelible mark on all who knew them.


Helen Garrett  

Helen Kathreen (Michie) Garrett was born on October 22, 1946 and grew up in Ottawa, Canada and while attending elementary school at Vicent Massey School Helen met her future husband, Tom Garrett, as they were in the same grade.

During Helen’s high school years, her interest in ballet and literature developed. She read extensively and loved poetry, especially works by Dylan Thomas. She wrote poetry herself and was the editor for the literature section of the yearbook for the class of 1965.

Helen and Tom remained friends during high school. They would take the same bus home and often had tea at Helen’s home, listening to recordings of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. This being the folk-song era, Helen joined a quartet with friends and performed at some high school events. Helen and Tom’s relationship only deepened as high school ended.

While Helen attended (well, perhaps more accurately, was enrolled at) Carleton University, in Ottawa in an arts program, Tom was at Queen’s University. This was the pre-cell phone, pre-email era so they communicated by daily letter, to the amazement of other residents of Morris Hall!

After two years at Carleton University, she attempted to transfer to Queen’s, but it became evident that Helen’s future did not lie in academics. At the end of the summer of 1967, Helen moved to Kingston as Tom entered Medical school at Queen’s. It was a brave move on her part as she had no connections in Kingston. She went to the local employment agency and then waited to see what would surface and was eventually offered a position in the Douglas Library, in the Cataloguing Department.

Helen and Tom were married on June 1, 1968, on a beautiful spring day at Helen’s parents' home in Ottawa. The newlyweds honeymooned in Montreal, staying at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel and had many excellent meals including dinner in Altitude 737, the restaurant atop Place Ville Marie. They felt very adult having a martini (which they did not like) and a half bottle of wine. They ended up shortening their stay by a day since they had spent so much of their budget enjoying restaurants!

As Tom pursued his medical studies and received several large scholarships (allowing them to purchase a car, albeit a very rudimentary Datsun), Helen continued work in the library and received a promotion to oversee the library in the Agnes Etherington Arts Center. They enjoyed their time together and social time with a wide circle of friends.

Sadly, in early 1970, Helen was diagnosed with cancer and had to begin chemotherapy. The side effects of the treatment were hard on Helen physically, but she continued to work without complaint. Tom was able to take time off from his studies to spend more time with Helen. They planned a final vacation in May, a trip to England and then to Scotland to see Helen’s paternal aunts. They visited some of the major sites including The Tower of London and a ballet at Covent Gardens. The trip to Scotland, sadly, was aborted as Helen was feeling weaker.

Helen continued to try to work but by the end of May could not manage it any longer. She continually handled her situation with grace and without complaint.

Helen died on July 3 with Tom at her side. A memorial service was held for her in the Queen’s Chapel in Theological Hall.


The Helen Garrett and Wendy Hotson Fund was established by Tom in memory of Helen and Wendy to honour his love for them and embody their impact and shared appreciation for the English language and the written word. Gifts to this fund will be used, at the discretion of the Head of the Department of English and Creative Writing, to support initiatives that enhance our intellectual community through literary creation and study.

Contact Information