Christoph Pachlatko

1956 – 2015

Dr. Christoph Pachlatko, who was a member of the Board of the Swiss League Against Epilepsy for over 25 years, passed away completely unexpectedly on 24th October 2015.

Christoph Pachlatko was born on 14th April 1956 in Bülach, Switzerland, as the fourth of five children and grew up in Riehen/Basel. At an early age it was already his wish to champion people fated to have hard lives. The model for him in this was also his father, who as vicar had led the Deaconesses' House in Riehen. Christoph Pachlatko studied theology in Basel and completed a second degree in business administration with a doctorate at the University of St. Gallen. At practically the same time he successfully applied for the post of General Director of the Swiss Epilepsy Clinic in Zurich, a position which he held since 1987.

His predecessor in that office, Mr P. Simmler, had been a Board member of the Swiss League Against Epilepsy (SLgE) at the same time. Because he was stepping down from the Board due to his retirement, Christoph Pachlatko was asked whether he would also succeed Mr Simmler at the SLgE. He accepted, was elected in April 1988 by the members' general meeting and since that time acted as a Board member of the SLgE, where in particular he also played an important role as a financial expert. Both the 50th as well as the 100th board meeting along with the 25-year and 50-year anniversary of the SLgE fell during his time as a Board member.

We came to know Christoph Pachlatko as a person who was always responsible, clearly organised, committed, reliable and helpful. Thanks to his expertise, the SLgE was able to negotiate some difficult financial obstacles and finds itself in prime condition today. His ability to think strategically was always a great help to the Board. Christoph Pachlatko played a crucial role in the reorganisation of the SLgE, which in July 2002 led to the foundation of Epi-Suisse, the primarily socially oriented Swiss Epilepsy Association. Since the year of its foundation, Christoph Pachlatko was also a Board member at Epi-Suisse and here it became particularly clear just how big his heart was when it came to the concerns and worries of those affected and their relatives.

It was not only at national level, but also at international level that Christoph Pachlatko was a pre-eminent representative of the interests of the SLgE and Epi-Suisse: He was also elected to various committees of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), such as those for Epilepsy Care, The Burden of Epilepsy, Economic Aspects of Epilepsy and Healthcare Policy. In 1997, in recognition of his multi-faceted work, he received the award Ambassador for Epilepsy, which is conferred together by the ILAE and the International Bureau for Epilepsy for outstanding activities in the field of epilepsy.

Besides his professional dedication, Christoph Pachlatko was a person full of zest for life and humour, who always cherished careful use of language. He very much enjoyed living in Zurich, although always remained attached to Basel: over all the years he never lost his Basel dialect, he was a loyal fan of FC Basel and visited the Basel Carnival every year. He delighted in a richly laid table and enjoyed celebrating parties — it was his wish that "the party would last without end." Now we are no longer able to celebrate with him. Christoph Pachlatko has not only left behind an indelible mark on the field of epilepsy, but on us as well. We will miss him dreadfully, but we are grateful for having walked a part of our path together with him. We will retain cherished memories of him.

Markus Schmutz, board member of the Swiss League Against Epilepsy