Dr. Enid Allison Edwards passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2021, at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. She entrusted her final days to where she had devoted the last sixteen years of her medical life. Her family deeply appreciates the excellent care provided by the B.C. Cancer Agency and the staff of St. Paul’s Palliative Care ward.
Born in 1946, the adored first child of Doreen and Allan Edwards, Enid was raised amid a close family of grandparents, great- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings in the village of Dubuc, Saskatchewan. Her love of learning and academic aptitude were recognized early. Completing grade 12 at Esterhazy High School, she was required to be independent at 16 as a boarder. Enid moved to Saskatoon the following year at barely 17 to earn a Bachelor of Science in Laboratory Technology at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1967, her son, Evan Ozirny, was born, and in 1968, Enid began work at Yorkton Union Hospital. In 1973 Enid assumed a new position at Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon, teaching the combined Lab and Xray Technology program, then returned to the U of S to enter the College of Medicine.
The Canadian Medical Association commented, “Enid started her professional career as a Laboratory Medical Technologist, then broadened her education to include MD (U of S, 1981 With Distinction, Valedictorian), FRCP in General Pathology (UBC, 1986) and a Fellowship in Transfusion Medicine (UBC, 1987). Enid’s professional career as a Pathologist began as the Laboratory Director at St. Vincent’s Hospital (1987), extending to Mt. St. Joseph’s Hospital soon afterward. In 1999 she assumed the Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital (1999) until her retirement (2015). In addition to her responsibilities as a Pathologist, Enid embraced the challenges of hospital administration, mentoring many physicians and technologists in leadership roles. Her leadership initiated and coordinated process-modernization of the Laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital, with the goal of excellence in patient care, a passion that guided her administrative decisions. Notably, under Enid’s leadership, Lean Process Improvement, the Special Coagulation Program, Clinical Mass Spectrometry and Molecular Diagnostics were established at St. Paul’s Hospital.” Her professional medical career including internships and practicums was in Kamsack, Regina, Ottawa, Bath, England, Los Angeles, and finally Vancouver.
Enid was a voracious reader with a photographic memory for history, knowing the royal houses of Britain by heart! She began her genealogy research long before the internet made it easy, discovering our Red River family line and the forgotten story of our paternal grandmother, Lily Knight Edwards. She travelled extensively throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe often incorporating family migration patterns. Holidays with Enid were educational, always including cemeteries. Her feeling of responsibility to history prompted her to repatriate our Grandma Nicholson’s house in Dubuc. Much pleasure was had refurbishing the house and yard to honour the family matriarch. The extended family is grateful for Enid’s efforts to uncover and preserve our roots.
Throughout her life she gathered good friends; their letters of farewell speak of missing her warm and generous spirit, her upbeat and sometimes irreverent sense of humour. Her virtues of loyalty, honesty, directness and hard work were her prairie legacy, tempered by a little hedonism- the arts, good whiskey, fine food, a slow walk, a Hello magazine. Her friends describe Enid as eclectic, multifaceted, accomplished (she was a photographer, a seamstress, a chef, a gardener, an adventurer, a raconteur). She always dressed like the sunrise in reds, oranges and yellows with red lipstick, fashion-forward eye glasses, chunky jewellery and dangling earrings. She was fluent at swearing. An evangelical Luddite, Enid made a minor conciliation to 21st century technology with her new iPad. She reluctantly switched to her iPhone when she could no longer source film for her old camera. She loved her springer spaniels, Tess and Halle, PBS, especially crime dramas, and never missed Jeopardy! Enid was very strong and could be tough. She was intensely private.
We bid au revoir to our dear Enid, a force of nature, an inspiration and an icon. She was the fairy tale dreamed by her ancestors… predeceased by those who knew Enid were her great grandparents, Alex and Svea Stenberg, grandparents John and Agnes Edwards, grandparents Svea (Sandra) and Norman Nicholson, her parents Doreen and Allan Edwards, and her brother Glen Edwards. Left to mourn her loss but to celebrate her extraordinary life are her son, Evan Ozirny, and her siblings and their families, Lorna (Cappy) Rieger, Greg Rieger (Jennifer Simpson), Jennifer (Cory) Brace, Rebecca (Sonny) Huska, Tim Rieger; Miriam (Larry) Anderson, Erin Anderson, Amy (Nidal) Dabghi, Eric Anderson (Michelle Tochor), Brynne Anderson (Trevor Steve); Patrick Edwards, Luke Edwards; and Dennis (Diane) Edwards, Bronwyn Edwards and James Edwards, and eighteen great nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Enid’s amazing life is planned for a later date. If you choose to make a donation in Enid’s memory, please consider cancer research. She loved science.