Dr. Mark Stanley Landis: Family Man. Photographer. Wine lover. Thoracic radiologist. Born Aug. 22, 1977, in Montreal; died Aug. 11, 2017, in Windsor, Ont.' of injuries from a road accident; age 39.
A short radiology contract in Corner Brook sold Mark Landis on the fragile beauty of the rugged and wind-blown Newfoundland coastline. Mark mastered the art of the image, whether he was confirming a lung tumour on a CT scan at work, or capturing an unsuspecting moose through a camera lens from behind a tree.
His delicate visions of the province's land and sea remain in framed photographs on the walls of a quiet hallway in his home, offset by his hilarious portraits of three small pouting sons, his "bulldog brothers."
Growing up, he liked to draw. At age 9, when his grandfather was in hospital, he sketched a surprisingly well-equipped hospital operating room. That he chose a career in radiology, becoming a leader in medical imaging for lung cancer patients at Victoria Hospital in London, Ont., seemed only fitting.
Mark was an original. At work, the outside of his office door featured a large poster of rocker James Brown. He liked to support the Blue Jays by wearing their jersey and cap in the X-Ray scanner room. Once, while skiing with his sons, he wore a Chewbacca mask on the slopes just for fun.
Even as a child, his sense of humour shone through: Mark had a bad habit of chewing Lego, which came to an abrupt end at age 10 when he accidentally swallowed a tiny antenna. He required a gastroscopy to remove the pointed plastic. While recuperating, and still in a semi-sedated state, he murmured, "Lego, the breakfast of champions!"
Mark did have a serious side. In his late 30s, he reached a point where he was seeking more balance in his life. In a last e-mail to a close friend, he wrote, "Family and friends are what is important. The rest is largely noise. Keep well, my man!" Beth was the love of his life; they met while dancing at a university party 20 years before. "He was so goofy, flailing his arms and legs around trying to impress me," Beth recalled. "We hit it off that night. Love at first sight." Their sons – Matthew, 12, Rhys, 10, and Remy, 4, – were his future.
He believed in making a difference, whether it was as an educator, an expert in thoracic imaging, or by helping patients through the London Regional Cancer Program. As a long-time supporter of organ donation, in death, he gave part of himself to two people, through the Trillium Gift of Life program.
Mark was well read and loved contemporary Canadian art. He could easily quote outrageous lines from Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Animal House. Mark was an excellent cook and food always required the appropriate wine: Burgundies and California's Ridge Vineyard wines were his favourites.
A few days before the accident that would eventually take his life, Mark and his father were cycling the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail together. Riding side by side, he asked his father: "Pops, did it ever bother you to turn 40?" His father replied facetiously, "Not sure, I can't remember that far back, but don't worry about it!" They chuckled and rode on through a beautiful sunny morning. That was the last perfect day.
Stephan Landis is Mark's father.
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