Dr. Shirley Stinson

Date: June 4th, 2020
Service Location: A memorial service will be held on a later date.

Dr. Shirley Marie Stinson, OC, AOE, RN, EdD, LLD (Hon), DSc (Hon), DSL (Hon)

Shirley Marie Stinson, an outstanding and visionary nursing leader, passed away June 4, 2020 in Edmonton from complications of Parkinson's Disease at the age of 90 years. Her major contributions to graduate education for nurses and to development of a national and international nursing research infrastructure made her one of the most honoured of Canadian nurses. At her investiture as Officer into the Order of Canada in 2002, she was honoured for her work to raise the profile of nursing in Canada and for her contributions "to improved standards of patient care around the world." She also received the Alberta Order of Excellence, the province's highest award.

After graduation in nursing from the University of Alberta, she worked as a public health nurse in her home province before taking her master's degree in nursing administration at University of Minnesota (1958), followed by four years working in administration at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. She then took her doctor of education degree at Teacher's College, Columbia University (1969), followed by a position on the nursing faculty at University of Alberta. Her pioneering efforts to establish nursing research as a respected field of study led to one of the first Master of Nursing programs in Canada and to the nation's first doctoral degree program for a PhD in Nursing, both at UA.

A dedicated fund-raiser for nursing research, she lobbied the Alberta government for Heritage funds and was founding Chair of the Alberta Foundation for Nursing Research, where she promoted study of advanced clinical nursing practice, theory, and research, both nationally and internationally. She was the first woman and first nurse to receive the federal title of Senior Health Research Scientist. Long a proponent of interdisciplinary education, she was the first nurse to hold a professorial appointment with the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine.

Though she officially retired in 1993, Dr. Stinson maintained an office in the UA Faculty of Nursing until health issues forced her to stop during the last few years. She continued to share her ideas and experience to benefit the growth of knowledge in all its forms and maintain contacts with nursing colleagues around the world. Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta and Adjunct Professor for Life at the University of Calgary, she taught, inspired, and mentored several generations of nurses and hospital administrators, from boomers to millennials, including many of today's leaders in education and in nursing.

She was a president of the Canadian Nurses Association and later received that organization's top award, the Jeanne Mance Medal. She was chair of the first International Nursing Research Conference in North America in 1986 and co-chair of the first International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research, held in Edmonton in 1993. She was an advisor to the World Health Organization and was an honoured keynote speaker at conferences nationally and internationally. She is author of more than 150 publications, including a biography of her parents. She was the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Canada Centennial Medal, Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, Sir Frederick Haultain Prize in the Humanities, and Canadian Nurses Foundation Ross Leadership Award. As well, she held four honorary doctoral degrees from three Canadian universities. She is listed in the Columbia University Nursing Hall of Fame and in the University of Minnesota School of Nursing's top 100 Distinguished Alumni. In 2019 the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing held the inaugural Dr. Shirley Stinson Nursing Research Conference in honour of her work to bring forward and promote nursing research.

Born in Arlee, Saskatchewan, on December 10, 1929, Shirley was the second of three children of Edwin and Mary (Ismond) Stinson. In 1935, during the Great Depression, the family moved to Tofield, Alberta, which she came to consider her home province. She is remembered fondly by her sister Elizabeth Stinson and her sister-in-law Ruth (Reily) Stinson, widow of brother Donald Edwin Stinson. As well, 7 nieces, a nephew, and 19 great nieces and nephews celebrate their good fortune in having a magical "Aunt Shirl" in their lives. She will be mourned by friends around the world.

Shirley had a great passion and zest for life. Among her many diverse delights were music (she played the clarinet), home repairs, poetry (she wrote poetry herself), and fishing. She was a faithful member of St. Andrew's United Church. She will be deeply mourned by friends around the world.

Shirley's family in Ontario would like to express their deep gratitude and appreciation to Karen Mills, Esther Ondrack, and their families in Alberta for their long-time friendship with Shirley, and in later years, the indispensable care and support they gave her. The Mills clan gladly included Shirley as one of their own and became a significant part of her daily life. The family thanks Anne King for her support and friendship with Shirl. The family would like to thank the excellent care team at Laurier House Lynnwood and Cassidy from Harmony Caregiving for their extraordinary kindness and compassion.

Condolences can be emailed to office@weberfuneralhome.ca

A memorial may be held in Edmonton later in the year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Shirley Stinson Scholarship in the History of Nursing through the University of Alberta Office of Advancement (https://www.ualberta.ca/giving/index.html or 780-492-7587 / Toll Free: 1-877-992-7587) or through Brianne Thomas, Director of Advancement, Nursing (brianne.thomas@ualberta.ca). Or you may make a donation to the charity of your choice.


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