Eva May Moody

Eva Moody as a young woman

Eva May Moody grew up in Victoria as an only child. She graduated from high school in 1927 and then went on to study at the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s School of Nursing. (The School of Nursing at the University of Victoria was established in 1976. Before that, people who wanted to be nurses attended the nursing school embedded in the hospital.) Eva graduated from there in 1932 and took post-graduate certificates in psychiatric and public health nursing. She faithfully attended RJH nursing reunions throughout her life, often acting as an entertaining chauffeur to out-of-town attendees.

In the 1940s, she was a school district nurse in the Chilliwack area. While there, she learned how to ride a horse and loved it. Many of her holidays were spent trail riding in the Canadian Rockies. One year, Eva came straight off the trail and boarded a train to go back home. She went to the dining Ccar and was placed, alone, in a far corner. Everyone avoided her. Finally, the conductor directed her to the washroom and told her to wash thoroughly and change her clothes. It was either that, or be thrown off the train. She reeked of horses.

Graduating from Royal Jubilee Hospital Nursing School in 1932

1952 saw Eva graduate from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. From there she went to work in Tranquille, a legendary tuberculosis sanatorium near Kamloops, BC which operated between 1907 and 1958. The beautiful site, on the shore of Kamloops Lake, was chosen so patients could benefit from rest, sunshine and dry fresh air. This was not just a hospital; it was a completely self-sufficient community. When Eva was there, it contained at least 40 buildings which not only housed patients and a staff of 600, but also a full working farm with attached abattoir, a fire department and a power plant.

In her “other life”, Eva was a world traveller and made friends everywhere she went. She corresponded with a long list of them until her death at the age of 92. They described her as intelligent, engaging and delightful. Her trips took her from Churchill, MB to the Great Wall of China (when she was 89); from Belize to Tibet; from Kenya to New Zealand. She was an accomplished photographer and, as she travelled, she took pictures with state-of-the-art camera equipment.

Eva amidst the flora in Fall 2000, 90-years-old

Eva never married or had children and lived independently all her life. In her 80s, she let her driver’s license lapse, but missed it terribly. So, at age 89 and against her doctor’s advice, she took four driving lessons and gained her license back; an important victory!

One of Eva’s traits was an insatiable curiosity and she was an avid reader. Her interests included archaeology, art, flora and fauna, history and politics. The one subject which absorbed her all her life was the study of traditional medicine and herbal remedies. She took copious notes on everything she learned from BC First Nations and the other Indigenous people she met on her travels around the world.

Her ongoing fascination with all areas of science led her to make a bequest to the University of Victoria for science undergraduates involved in research. Her legacy allows the Faculty of Science to provide a number of competitive awards each year to undergraduate students who wish to do full-time research during the summer. Many students with enquiring minds like Eva Moody’s have benefitted from her generosity.

For more information on leaving a gift in your Will to UVic, please contact Kristy Colpron  or 250-721-8967.