Doris Stastny

doris and harry stastny
Doris and Harry Stastny

Doris and Harry Stastny Bursary

It was 1957 and, with her children in tow, one of Doris Stastny’s favorite things to do was drive the old logging roads of northern Vancouver Island and ensure the maps she had drawn of these wild areas were accurate. The maps would later become an important part of the northern island’s history, however they wouldn't be the only legacy that Doris would leave behind.

Doris “Parker” was born on February 13, 1925 in Essex, England. She married her first husband, Ants Eert, in 1947 and three years later, with young children and a husband at home, she became one of the first women to earn a degree (a Master of Arts in Geography) from Cambridge University. Adventure and opportunity called and, following her graduation, the Eert family moved to Melbourne, Australia where Doris worked for a number of years in town planning.

Ants accepted an offer of work in Campbell River, BC and in 1957 Doris and the children followed him to Canada. Doris absolutely loved the wild regions surrounding their new home.  She established a map business and spent the next few years publishing maps of northern Vancouver Island for sportsmen and tourists.

Unfortunately, her marriage to Ants didn’t last and in 1960 Doris found herself as a single mother of four children. The map business just wasn’t enough to support her family so, after a brief stint at a Campbell River Mill, Doris decided to return to school. 

The next year was difficult for the family as Doris commuted weekly between Vancouver Island and the University of British Columbia on the mainland. She studied there during the week and returned on weekends to look after the children who often weren’t fond of the housekeepers who looked after them.

Doris was rewarded through her perseverance and hard work in 1966 when she received her Library Science degree from UBC. The family’s third, and final, move was to the southern tip of Vancouver Island where Doris successfully applied for a job at the University of Victoria library.

It was at the University of Victoria where the next chapter of the family’s life began. Doris met her second husband, Harry Stastny, who was also employed in the library. They married in 1967 and Doris became a Canadian citizen in 1969.

Gift Maps Route to Education for Single Moms

The challenge of attending school while raising a family of four alone never left Doris. She decided to leave a lasting gift through a bequest in her Will to help other single mothers in a similar situation. Doris and Harry Stastny Bursaries are awarded annually to single mothers pursuing their education at UVic. 

A Grateful Recipient of a Doris and Harry Stastny Bursary

Samantha Magnus remembers the summer before she started her Master’s program as one of the toughest times of her life. Recently single, she had moved to Victoria from the gulf islands with her 3-year-old son and 6-month old daughter in order to continue her education and follow opportunities that would ultimately enable her to support her family alone. When Samantha was notified she had been awarded a Stastny bursary she said, “I felt so supported and validated in the choices I’d made. It was like these invisible hands were lifting me up. It was incredibly humbling.”

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