In Honour of Shirley Emmeline Rea Ridalls

  • February 1, 1931 – September 26, 2019
  • Sponsored by Sheila Rankin Zerr

Shirley was born in Dundurn Saskatchewan. During her childhood she made several moves throughout Saskatchewan and to other parts of Canada. Watching her mother take care of family, friends and animals, sparked her interest in nursing. She entered the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in 1954. After working at the Calgary General Hospital for six months, she moved to the Provincial Mental Hospital in Ponoka to do a post-basic diploma in Psychiatric Nursing.  Shirley joined the Royal Canadian Medical Corp in 1956 as a reserve nursing sister.  Shirley served with Reserve Field Ambulances #22, #24 and #12 medical companies.  (Reserves are part time soldiers who are trained to live under “field” conditions): her job was to train medical assistants to provide care to wounded and sick soldiers.  She worked two days a week until compulsory retirement at age 47, but continued to volunteer at the #12 Medical Co. Museum.

In 1960 Shirley moved to British Columbia to take a position at the Chilliwack General Hospital. Next she moved to the Maple Ridge General Hospital.  She bought a small acreage in Maple Ridge and was very happy to be able to grow things and raise animals. She then moved to the Vancouver General Hospital and to the Burnaby General Hospital.  After retiring from the Burnaby General Hospital she pursued her lifelong interest in gardening and returned to school where she attended Kwantlen College and completed her degree in Horticulture.

Shirley was very active in the Military Nursing Sisters Association,  also, an active member of the British Columbia History of Nursing Society.  She was always willing to attend Nursing Association gatherings where she would man a display table to promote the work of the Nursing Sisters Association and distribute material describing military nursing activities. She loved the Army Mess Dinners in Vancouver and retired at the rank of Captain, after 25 years of service. Shirley was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by Lieutenant Governor David Lam for her service as a nurse to the Army, and Nursing Sisters.

Shirley joined the All Saints Anglican Church, making many new friends. She facilitated the organization of a senior’s Yoga class.  This class still meets in the Church basement.  The class is named Shirley’s Yoga Class to recognize her part in the formation of the class and to honour her memory.  We thank Shirley’s cousins for their contribution with the eulogy shared from which we obtained some information for this page.