Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mark Leslie Collis

Mark's obituary was published in the Toronto Star and the Kingston Whig-Standard today.

COLLIS, Mark Leslie (Chef Mark) - of Kingston, age 63, died suddenly on Sunday, August 16, 2015 at Kingston General Hospital. Mark will be forever loved and missed by his wife Peggy Shanks and his beloved dogs Gracie and Sam. Mark will also be remembered affectionately by Michael and Theresa Shanks (Amherstview), Patrick Shanks and Cynthia Deveau (Ottawa), his uncle Nate Collis (Toronto), members of the Collis, Shanks and Forbes families and a large network of friends. Mark is predeceased by his wonderful parents, Joe and Ida Collis, his brother Barry Collis and his ex-wife, Mimi Braidberg. He was an exceptionally talented, classically trained French Chef working in Toronto for many years, creating delicious meals at Fenton's, Vittorio's, Zaidy's, Carlevale's and Bemelman's Restaurants. Mark opened his own restaurant in Toronto, La Bionda which was well known in the late 1980's for its open kitchen and creative cuisine. In the 1990's Mark was able to combine his passion for food with his love for music through his catering company "Touring Kitchens." Mark cooked for many of his musical heroes including Roger Waters, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers and Leon Redbone (to name just a few). By the end of the 1990's he had met Peggy, moved to Kingston and opened Ida's Kitchen. In recent years, after retiring from cooking, Mark worked as a cab driver. A celebration of Mark's life is being planned for the fall. Mark's family would like to thank all of the medical professionals who provided such excellent care to him during his illness. In particular, thank you to Dr Tu Van Banh, Dr Hugh MacDonald, Dr Sulaiman Nanji, Dr James Biagi and all of the staff at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario. As an expression of sympathy, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Kingston Humane Society ( or CFRC Radio Queen's University ( would be appreciated.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mark - Some Sad News

Hello everyone,

I know that I have spoken to some of you on the phone already but I wanted to let the rest of you know that Mark passed away earlier this morning at the Kingston General Hospital.

He'd had a pretty rough summer with his health.  It seemed to be just one thing after another.  In the last week or so, he started to exhibit symptoms that his liver was in bad shape.  We received the
results of his most recent CT scan on Wednesday, August 12.  We were told that the tumours were quite involved and they suggested that he restart chemo as soon as possible.  As soon as possible was to be tomorrow (Monday, August 17).

In his heart, I know that he really did not want to do chemo.  Because he'd been feeling so crappy though, the chemo provided a promise of relieving some his symptoms and the doctor was confident that Mark would respond well, and perhaps even be back to work by mid-September.

Last night, he was having a lot pain in his back and abdomen and was having difficulty breathing.  Mark was taken by ambulance to KGH and I know that the team there did everything that they could to help him.  They were able to get him breathing a couple of times but were not able to get his heart started again due to extremely low blood pressure.

I was told that he probably didn't experience any pain while they were treating him.  I told the doctor that Mark spent a good chunk of his life in pursuit of not feeling any pain so he would appreciate that.

I feel completely numb at the moment.  I knew that this cancer was going to kill him but I thought we'd have more time.  I also thought that when he died, it would be peaceful and I'd be there  (I stayed behind to sort the dogs out and arrived at the hospital about 40 minutes after he did - I think he died just before we arrived).

I want to thank you all so much for the love and support you've shown us during Mark's illness. He'll be cremated and a celebration of life will be held in the fall.  I'll make sure to keep you posted about
that has I figure out what is happening.

While his passing his sudden and shocking, I know that Mark wouldn't want you to be sad.  Pull out your copy of Wish You Were Here or watch A Hard's Day Night and think about how much joy Mark brought to us over the years, through his sense of humour, his amazing food and his colourful stories.

I love you all, thanks again for everything.