Edna was born and raised in Vancouver, graduating from Magee High School in 1935. She attended UBC and graduated in 1941 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing. After graduation Edna worked for the Provincial Board of Health in Saanich until her marriage in 1942. She moved with her husband to the small pulp mill town of Woodfibre where she began her family and did volunteer work for the community. In 1956 the family moved to Vancouver and she returned to work as a public health nurse for the city of Vancouver (1956-1961) and later for the city of Burnaby (1961-1978). In 1961 she moved her family to her beloved house on the hill in Maple Ridge.
Edna was devoted to her family and her profession. She particularly enjoyed her baby clinics, prenatal classes, home care, and especially her role as school nurse. In 1976 she was promoted to Associate Nurse Coordinator for the Burnaby Health Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1978.
Retirement did not last long for Edna. As a part of her role as home care nurse she had noted the need for support for terminally ill patients and their families. In 1980 she embarked upon her second career when she founded what has now become the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society. She devoted her time and energy to act as hospice coordinator, train volunteers, raise hospice awareness in the community, and support families in their time of need until her second retirement in 1993.
Edna received many tributes in recognition of her service to her community. In 1989 she became the first recipient of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation’s Dr. Lloyd Capling award for outstanding contributions in the health care field and in 2006 her many years of service to hospice were recognized by having her name placed on The Tree of Life plaque in the newly opened McKenney Creek Hospice in Maple Ridge.
Despite leading a very busy life Edna always made time for her family, friends, and hobbies. She enjoyed sewing, gardening, baking great pies, and traveling the world. She was particularly fond of strolling along the River Walk in Maple Ridge. In her later years she took pleasure in her regular visits to Whidbey Island, Tofino, and Whistler with family and friends.
On October 26, 2008 Edna passed away peacefully at Magnolia Gardens Care Centre in Langley at the age of 90 years.
Edna Trethewey was a truly remarkable lady and her good work will live on and continue to help others. Many people sit back and think – `someone should do something’ – Edna just got out there and did it herself. The world needs more people like her.
Adapted from the obituary published in the Vancouver Sun 11/14/2008.