Nanaimo lost one of its senior citizens on a sunny afternoon of the first day of autumn. Ann Quayle was 96 years old when she decided to let go. She was proud of her work as one of Vancouver Island’s early public health nurses. Predeceased by her husband Dan in 1993, and survived by her daughter, Moura; brother, Bill; son-in-law, David Fushtey and numerous nieces and nephews, she leaves a legacy of a love of learning and making things for others a little better.
Ann was a Murray born in 1914, in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, in the same month that Canada was drawn into the first world war. In an era when women were expected to stay home, her mother insisted that Ann carry on to nursing school. As a result, it was at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, in 1935, that Ann felt her life really began: “I loved school and basketball.”
She moved to Nanaimo in 1939 to work at Nanaimo Hospital where she met Dan Quayle, a native of Ladysmith and a young marine biologist. Ann continued her nursing work while Dan was posted overseas in 1942 to serve as a navigator in the air force. After the war Ann went off to UBC to upgrade her nursing credentials while Dan went to Glasgow to study for a PhD in bivalve molluscs. They were married in February 1947.
Returning to Vancouver Island, life shifted to focus on the arrival of Moura. By 1963 they had moved to the wilds of Planta Road, outside of Nanaimo. In time the City grew up around them. Ann returned to work as a public health nurse, tended Moura and became a Vancouver Island gardener and golfer.
Ann’s bright observations and quick smile brought her many friends, and we thank everyone for much support over the past many years, especially Ann’s friends at Lynburn Manor. Special thanks go to the staff at Nanaimo Seniors’ Village who cared for and loved Ann over the last two years.
For the past several years Ann was trying to donate a greenway to the City of Nanaimo, and never quite understood why the process hung on red tape and civic-management agendas. Perhaps with a new era in City Hall, the Quayle Greenway can become a reality on lands donated by Ann and Dan, as a lasting legacy for her neighbourhood and city, and as a tribute to the walkers and cyclists in our midst.
Ann loved Nanaimo, from the days of her work criss-crossing central Vancouver Island in a classic old Ford to bring public health to small communities, to seeing her rhododendrons bloom in the spring by the waters of what we now know as the Salish Sea. She will be missed.