Wilhelmina and Roy Livingstone shown with their daughter Denise, and sons Mac, David, Jack, Don. (Photo with permission from Exploring Our Roots History Book)

Valley Voices From The Past

Wilhelmina Livingstone: First public health nurse to serve North Thompson

Little Fort’s Wilhelmina Livingstone was well known for her caring heart and for how much she gave of herself to help others.

She was born Wilhelmina McKenzie on Jan. 12, 1895, in Loggieville, Northumberland County, New Brunswick. After graduating high school she trained as a nurse in Boston, Mass. She then joined the United States Army Nursing Corps and was stationed in Kentucky. Her next posting was Puerto Rico, where she nursed convalescent soldiers in a military hospital and was promoted to lieutenant. After the war, she returned to the Maritimes but eventually moved to Dauphin, Man.

She then made her way to B.C. where she received her public health nursing diploma at the University of British Columbia, and was appointed as a public health nurse in Kamloops.

Wilhelmina is recorded as the first public health nurse to serve the North Thompson Valley community when she started to serve in that capacity in January 1921.

She met Little Fort logging contractor Roy Livingstone, and married him in October of that year. They homesteaded, ranched and raised their five children; Mac, David, Jack, Don, and one daughter, Denise, in the Little Fort area.

Their original homestead was up the Lemieux Creek Road, then in later years, the Livingstone family moved closer to town onto Timber View Ranch.

Wilhelmina was a life member of the local Women’s Institute and an honorary life member of the North Thompson Fall Fair Association. Wilhelmina was always active in community affairs, and was one of the ‘kingpin workers’ doing much of the secretarial duties for the North Thompson Fall Fair organization in its early years.

Because of her nursing experience, Nurse Wilhelmina Livingstone, R.N., performed many volunteer services to the North River residents in the pioneering spirit of her time. She was always ready for any emergency that might require her medical services, only asking that people pay for their needed medical supplies, such as dressings. but providing her nursing services and expertise for free. She assisted in industrial accidents at local mills and mines, and provided care during a scarlet fever epidemic in the community. Her medical services were greatly appreciated, not just for Little Fort residents, but for many who lived in outlying areas.

Roy Livingstone died in September 1964, and Wilhelmina Livingstone died at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops on June 4, 1972, at age 77.

They are buried in the family plot in Hillside Cemetery, Kamloops, B.C.

Thank you to the following sources:

* Carson Stone and his History Notes of the North Thompson Facebook page

* Early UBC Nursing Graduates: The Ethel Johns’ Years 1921 To 1925: An Annotated List, by Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek

* Obituary published in Kamloops Daily Sentinel, June 6, 1972.



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The first public health nurse to serve the North Thompson community was Wilhelmina Livingstone, R.N., who arrived in that capacity in January of 1921. (UBC Nursing Graduate records)