Sheila Mary Edwards died on December 21, 2010. Her struggle with mantle-cell lymphoma was long and valiant, but her illness got the better of her in her last few days.
Sheila is survived by her devoted husband of fifty years, Jim, three daughters, Mary Caroline of London, England, Sarah of Edmonton, Gweyn of Mesachie Lake, B.C., and one son, John of Edmonton. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, Anastasia, Allegra and Konrad Tillman, Jonathan and Oscar Frater, Julia Edwards, and Jasper Edwards-Kleinke.
Sheila spent the first fifteen years of her life in Calgary, moving to Edmonton with her mother and grandparents when her grandfather, the Honourable J.J. Bowlen was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in 1950. She received a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the U of A in 1957 and served as Alberta’s first environmental chemist.
Sheila was a pillar of the arts community. Known for her unrelenting contributions as a volunteer, organizer and leader, Sheila served on many boards and was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 for her lifelong contributions to the community. She served on the board of the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Alberta Arts Stabilization Fund. She was a patron of the Citadel Theatre from its inception in 1964, the Edmonton Symphony and Edmonton Opera. Scholarships in Drama at the Banff School and the University of Alberta are endowed in her name. Sheila served for several years on the original board of the Edmonton Community Foundation. She was Executive Director of the Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival, a board member of the Misericordia Hospital, the Government House Foundation, and served two terms on the U of A Senate. She was instrumental in the fundraising for the Timms Theatre and the Winspear Centre. Latterly, she was a Patron of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
Sheila was also an avid sportswoman and public affairs enthusiast. She was fiercely loyal and a warm friend to many. As family matriarch, her greatest joy was her life as wife, mother and grandmother.
Sheila’s family wishes to thank the staff at the Mel Miller Hospice for their compassion and responsiveness to Sheila’s many complicated needs. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph’s Basilica, 10044 – 113 Street, Edmonton, on Tuesday, December 28, at 11:30 a.m. To honour Sheila, please consider wearing “Bright Colours” at the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edmonton Community Foundation (The Jim and Sheila Edwards Family Fund), 9910 – 103 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5K 2V7.