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A bright light who will be sadly missed

Apr 17, 2020


Dr Patricia Kailis (1933-2020)

Rocky Bay has received the sad news that Dr Patricia Kailis passed away on April 17 at the age of 86.

Dr Kailis was a key figure in the history of Rocky Bay with over 40 years as a Board and Foundation member, Chair, advisor, benefactor and lobbyist.

Rocky Bay CEO, Michael Tait, said Rocky Bay was a better organisation for her support, kindness and wisdom.

“I will personally miss her insight and perspective and of course those regular calls letting me know her thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Her presence lives on at our Cockburn hub which is named after her as the Patricia Kailis Centre. She shone a bright light across our entire organisation.”

Dr Kailis (AM, OBE, FTSE) had an enormously positive impact across West Australian life enjoying an illustrious business career, performing a myriad of Board, research and mentoring roles.

As a Paediatric Neurologist and Geneticist, she introduced predictive testing for Huntington’s disease, and she was heavily involved in research into Motor Neuron disease and Muscular dystrophy.

Dr Kailis also raised four children (Maria, George, Amanda and Alex) and with husband Michael, was a driving force behind the Kailis prawning, fishing and pearling empire.

Known as the Pearl Queen, she loved to recall her experiences at the Kailis pearl farm at Roebuck Bay.

“It’s a wonderful experience to see them open up a shell and it’s just see this white shiny thing there and it comes out and it’s a lustrous pearl, it’s akin to seeing a baby being born. It’s very emotional.”

Dr Kailis was born in Castlemaine, Victoria and studied medicine at Melbourne University before moving to Perth to work at Royal Perth, Princess Margaret and King Edward Memorial hospitals.

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