Eileen (Gillanders) Welsh

Eileen Welsh passed away peacefully at Kootenay Lake Hospital at the age of 94 years. Eileen lived as an intelligent, energetic, warm, fun loving individual, sometimes a bit stubborn in her zeal to have things “done right”. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched.

She was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, the second child of Maria and James Gillanders. Due to the unrest in Ireland at that time, the family immigrated to Canada in September 1921, sailing into Quebec City on the passenger ship Ille de France. They traveled by railway to Saskatchewan where their father had acquired a farm at Cresent Hill, near Kinistino. She attended a one room school until the family moved to a larger farm close to Kinistino. Eileen’s formative years were spent helping on the family farm and becoming involved with their church and community activities.

After graduating from Kinistino High School, Eileen trained as a nurse in the three year residential program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. She worked in Saskatchewan for a few years then, true to her adventurous nature, came to BC working at Chilliwack and Revelstoke hospitals before coming to Nelson. In the old High Street hospital she worked as a general duty nurse, then Supervisor and was appointed Director of Nursing during the planning stages of the present hospital. She remained as Director when the hospital opened in 1958 and continued until 1969. She then worked as a part time pharmacy nurse for a number of years before retiring. As a dedicated and caring nurse, her patients always came first. In order to assist her career colleagues, she was instrumental in the professional organization and the fight for the creation of pensions for nurses.

In 1952 she married long time Nelson resident Ernie Welsh whom she shared life with until his death in 1987. Eileen enjoyed doing volunteer work for the Canadian Cancer Society and also as a member of the Jubilee Manor Auxiliary. She was a faithful friend, caring for many whenever needed. She enjoyed sports, and in retirement she took up golf for the exercise, fresh air and friendships. She was a consummate walker, as part of her nursing career and later for enjoyment and health. She made many “park friends” on her early morning walks around Lakeside Park. More recent failing health restricted her very active routine. Close family ties and many friendships were always very important to her.

Eileen was predeceased by husband Ernie, her parents and her older brother Ernie. She will be lovingly remembered by her sister, Isabelle Agar, Calgary, AB; her three brothers Dick (Noreen), Winnipeg, MB; George (Hazel), Kelowna, BC; and Bill (Joyce), Duncan, BC, special nephews and nieces and their families; Godson Stephen (Linda) Hoskin and family; special friends Andrea Manson and Nancy Playdon.

Eileen’s family would like to express their gratitude for the extra special care given to her from Dr. Keith Bridger and the Third Floor staff of Kootenay Lake Hospital. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to Kootenay Lake Hospital, 3 View St., Nelson BC, V1L 2V1.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Online condolences may be sent to Thompson Funeral Services


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