The academic, medical and LGBTQ communities in Edmonton are mourning the death of a psychiatrist and professor who helped them live better lives.
Dr. Lorne Warneke was a psychiatrist, University of Alberta professor and medical director at the gender clinic at the Grey Nuns Hospital until he retired in 2017.
Warneke died Aug. 28 of injuries related to a fall.
His career spanned five decades, the university said in an article on its website.
"Dr. Warneke fought relentlessly for increased awareness, education and support for sexual diversity and the affirmation of gender identity," the university said.
Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair in sexual and gender minority youth issues at MacEwan University, worked with Warneke for many years on LGBTQ health care and human rights issues in Alberta.
"He was tenacious, he wouldn't take no for an answer," Wells told CBC News Thursday. "Lorne was a giant of a man but a very compassionate and caring soul."
In 1984, Warneke convinced Alberta Health to pay for gender reassignment surgery for the under-serviced transgender population, the U of A article said.
He also lobbied to change Alberta human rights legislation to include sexual orientation as a protected area, the university said.
Wells said Warneke was known across the country for his leadership on rights issues.
"Dr. Warneke was not only a tremendous and well respected psychiatrist, he was a champion not only in the City of Edmonton, but for minority communities everywhere in Alberta and across Canada," Wells said.
In 1996, Warneke founded the gender clinic in 1996 at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. The clinic, which serves transgender patients, was the first of its kind in Canada.
"Without Dr. Warneke, many people would have never been able to access health care, never been able to live their true lives and make contributions to our community," Wells said. "He was a force and we're going to miss him greatly."
The U of A honoured Warneke in 2017 with the Distinguished Alumni Award.