A long time member and a great supporter of United Nations in Canada, Verna Splane celebrated her 100th birthday along with her husband Richard Splane, family and friends. Vancouver Branch was pleased to present Verna with messages from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our Governor General, our Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Premier of B.C. and many others. Verna was elegant and graceful as always, responding to all those present with warmth and expressing appreciation of what it means to her to have the love and friendship of so many.
Verna was born on November 23, 1914 in Ontario. She became a nurse. After graduating from University of Toronto, she went on to study at Columbia University in New York and finally, received her Masters degree in Public Health from University of Michigan. After working with the Victorian Order of Nurses, Verna went on to work for the World Health Organization in Africa, Caribbean and South America. She was Canada’s First Principal Nursing officer, holding the highest post for any nurse in this country articulating nurse’s perspectives to the Federal Government. As a professor of Nursing, she influenced thousands of young professionals around the world.
Verna served her country and the global arena through her volunteer work becoming a founding member of many non-governmental organizations. International Social Services Canada is one example. She has been awarded a number of honorary Doctorates from Canadian Universities, Medals of honour and the Order of Canada.
We, at UNAC Vancouver, are grateful to her for her continued support, interest in our programming and the great dinner receptions she organizes after the Richard B Splane Public Lecture on Social Policy, one of our annual projects. On the eve of her 100th birthday, she engaged me in a deep conversation about the state of children around the world and how important it is to continue to educate the public about poverty elimination and children’s rights to free education and health care.
We wish Verna happy days ahead and time to enjoy memories of the extraordinary life of contributions made to Canada and to the global community. It is indeed an honour for us to celebrate her and be proud of the incredible journey she has been on.
Post written by UNAC Vancouver Past President Patsy George