Steele, Phyllis Lenore (1909–88)

Dr. Phyllis Steele, August 1981.
Don Healy (Regina Leader-Post)

Phyllis Steele was born in Entwistle, Alberta on May 22, 1909. She undertook medical studies when women were a rarity in medical schools, graduating from the University of Alberta in 1934. She began at Marquis, Saskatchewan, and then bought a practice in Balcarres in 1939. She was sympathetic and helpful to her many patients of First Nations ancestry. She first opened a thirteen-bed hospital in a house, and in 1951 was instrumental in the building of a modern 28-bed hospital. Dr. Steele also led a successful campaign for construction of Parkland Lodge in 1959 and of a Senior Citizens’ Enriched Housing Unit in 1985. She served several terms as a town councillor and was Citizen of the Year in 1973. By her retirement in 1980 she had delivered over 5,000 babies. In 1986 she celebrated a record fifty years as coroner. Her autobiography, The Woman Doctor of Balcarres (1984), pulled no punches. She received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1985 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987. She died in Regina on March 26, 1988.

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