Dr. Laura Isabel Muir (Coleman) Forgues was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on the 17th of January, 1921. Dr. Forgues was the only child of Dr. Ralph Elswood Coleman and the former Mary “Molly” McBride Muir. Her father was a medical doctor and her mother was a registered nurse. Dr. Ralph Coleman enlisted in WWI and served as a Captain with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Mrs. Coleman was born in Scotland and came to Canada as a young nurse to open a tuberculosis sanitarium. Later she enlisted in WWI and went with the first 100 Canadian nursing sisters who accompanied the Canadian Expeditionary Force in November of 1914 and served in France. Dr. and Mrs. Coleman were married in England during the war on the 4th of August, 1918 and returned to Canada as husband and wife after the armistice.
Dr. Forgues’s father eventually specialized in pathology and is credited with starting the first medical laboratories in British Columbia.
Dr. Laura Forgues was married to John Douglas Fairbairn on the 30th of May, 1942. It is unknown at this time, how the marriage ended.
Dr. Forgues graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Functional Biology at McGill University in Montreal before entering Medical School. She gradated M.D.,C.M. from McGill in 1947. While at McGill she was the circulation manager for the university “Medical Journal” as well as the Editor of the Leonard Foundation Bulletin. Dr. Forgues did a rotating internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. After graduation Dr. Forgues returned to Vancouver and had a general medical practice for a brief period of time. She qualified for certification in psychiatry for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada) by studying at the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals and the Institute of Psychiatry of London University in London, England. She was appointed to the British Columbia Government Mental Health Services as a consultant child psychiatrist. In the early to mid 1950’s, Dr. Forgues held a research assistant position at the University of Toronto in the Psychiatry Department.
In September of 1956, Dr. Forgues joined the staff at the Ontario Hospital School in Smith Falls, Ontario. She was still on staff there in 1959.
Dr. Forgues married Dr. Roland Gerard Forgues at the Sacred Heart Chapel of Natre Dame Church in Montreal, Quebec on the 18th of May, 1959. Her husband was born on the 21st of August, 1924 in Lewiston, Maine. He was the eldest of 3 children born to Raoul Henri Forgues and the former Zephirina Marie LaFond. Dr. Roland Forgues’s father was a plumber and his siblings were Gerard Robert Forgues and Bertrand R. Forgues.
Dr. Roland Forgues was raised in Lewiston, Maine and educated in the public school system. He began his post secondary education at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and at the University of Ottawa where he received degrees in philosophy and arts. Dr. Roland Forgues taught school for a number of years at the Winthrop High School, in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He pursued many avenue’s of education while teaching high school including sociology at the University of Maine. Eventually he returned to the University of Ottawa and did postgraduate work in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1947. Over the next 4 years, Dr. Roland Forgues completed an internship and a residency at Hotel Dieu and St. Justine Children’s Hospitals in Montreal, specializing in neuropsychology. He lectured in psychology at the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing and he was a guest lecturer for the Department of Neurology at the University of Montreal School of Medicine. Dr. Roland Forgues joined the staff at the Ontario Hospital School in Smith Falls in January of 1957 as a clinical psychologist.
In the early to mid 1960’s Dr. Mary Isabel (Coleman) Forgues was on-staff at the Southwestern Regional Centre in Cedar Springs.
In 1970 Dr. Mary Forgues was living and working in Ottawa. In June of 1970 she became the President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. Of particular interest to her, was the retention of female physicians after they started their own families and providing support for women in medical school. In an interview that was published in The Brandon Sun newspaper on the 11th of February, 1970 she stated, “….there are no barriers left to break for women in medicine.” Further she stated, “It costs $50,000 to educate a doctor and the costs are difficult for the female student to bear because unfortunately, she is limited in the type of summer employment she can obtain. The boys can make $2000 in the summer, while a female student probably will be able to earn only $650 or so.”
Dr. and Dr. Forgues were not known to have any children.
Dr. Roland Gerard Forgues died in Kingston, Ontario on the 18th of February, 1993. He was buried in the Forgues family plot at Saint Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Lewiston, Maine.
Dr. Mary Isabel (Coleman) Forgues died at the Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Ontario on the 21st of March, 2000. She was buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Lindsay, Ontario.