Dorothy Ladner (BASc(N) ’44)

Dorothy May Ladner, youngest of four children of the prominent Ladner family, was born in 1918. She followed in her mother Gertrude’s footsteps to become a nurse, graduating from UBC with a bachelor of applied science in nursing in 1944.

Until the end of World War II, she served as a medical nurse in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and throughout her career remained in the Reserve Forces. She then joined the BC Public Health Service, which was being reorganized after the war, serving as a public health nurse in various locations throughout British Columbia. Having graduated with a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh in 1865, returned to supervise public health in the Maple Ridge District. In 1968, she was appointed Supervisor in Northern Interior Unit, headquartered in Prince George and covering a territory that included Vanderhoof, McBride and Valemont. The job required her to travel long distances in all weather, and took considerable courage and enterprise. She enjoyed outdoor living in the North, particularly camping and boating on Ootsa Lake. Dorothy Ladner was also keenly interested in the welfare of children and was involved in the planning and development of the Variety Club’s Children’s Treatment Centre in Surrey, BC. She became the second Executive Director of the centre, holding that position from February 1971 until August 1974. In September of 1987, she suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk, and for the duration of her life required care.

She died peacefully in hospital on January 19, 1996. In 2004, her sister Edna G. Ladner endowed the UBC Faculty of Medicine with a memorial fellowship in Dorothy’s name for a graduate student doing research which could lead to the effective treatment of traumatic brain injury.”

Adapted from David Kirkpatrick (2009). In Praise of Strong Women: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir. Granville Island Publishing Co. and Valerie Grant, Sheila J. Rankin Zerr & Glennis Zilm (2006). Labor of Love: A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976. Limited Edition

Other material provided by the BC History of Nursing Society archives