In Memoriam: Karen Kobayashi

We are mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague Karen Kobayashi who passed away on May 28, 2022. Karen was a long-time leader and investigator in AGE-WELL: from long service on our Research Management Committee to co-lead of the knowledge mobilization crosscutting activity, to newly named network and training advisor in implementation.

A professor in the University of Victoria’s Department of Sociology and Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences), Karen was an eminent social gerontologist who used a life course perspective to explore the intersections of structural, cultural and individual factors and experiences affecting health and aging in the Canadian population.

Karen’s dedication to, and enthusiasm for, supporting trainees – the next generation of researchers, government and industry professionals – was unmatched. She was a fierce advocate for all of her trainees, an insightful mentor who sought to build strengths and capacity. She made her students and colleagues feel safe and supported and also encouraged them to always, always strive to do good and make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of those to whom our work is relevant.

This loss is devastating both professionally and personally. Karen was also a fantastic and generous friend. I first met Karen when we both were doing our post-docs at Simon Fraser University back in 2002. She took me under her wing and showed me the ropes at that time, and became a dear friend and colleague. I am personally gutted by this news, and I will never forget her. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

We are in touch with Karen’s family and close colleagues at UVic and will plan to honour our dear friend and colleague in the weeks ahead. For now, we hold her kind and generous spirit and memories in our hearts.

-Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO, AGE-WELL, on behalf of the leadership team.