Tuesday, October 24, 2023
St. Augustine's Parish
2028 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
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September 8, 1946 – October 14, 2023
Our beloved Evanna departed this life October 14, 2023, surrounded by her devoted husband Ralph “Woody” Silvea, family and friends. Evanna is also survived by her sister Sunniva Jennings, nephews Pete (Rita) Ella; Rich (Mel) Bea; niece Catherine (Greg) Connor, Brook; sister in-law Jane Brennan; Woody’s daughters Tara (Lawren,) Brayden, Walker; Kayla (Marcel) Kamylah, Maziah, Elijah; dearest friends Susan Giles (Kahni) family; Sherron Kennedy (Ross) family; and many friends and colleagues. Predeceased by her brother, Arthur, and her parents, Catherine and Arthur Brennan.
A native of County Dublin, Ireland, Evanna graduated from the Schools of Nursing at Temple Street Hospital for Sick Children (1967), St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin (1969) and midwifery from the School of Nursing, Kingston-on-Thames, London (1973). As a staff nurse, Evanna’s career took her to Dhahran, Dublin and Lion’s Gate Hospital, North Vancouver. In 1979 she began work as a Home Care Nurse, Downtown Eastside, Vancouver at the same time as Susan Giles. In 1990 Evanna and Susan pioneered a nursing model, Action Based Care, designed to address the complex health care needs of the residents of the DTES who were living homeless, in single occupancy hotel rooms or in shelters. In the midst of the AIDS and drug-poisoning epidemics, their patients were very ill and profoundly mistrustful of the health care system but came to respect and love them as “Mama and Auntie.” Their work is known nationally and internationally, has inspired colleagues and students, and was featured in the documentary Angels on Call. In 2012, rather than retire after 33 years of service with Vancouver Coastal Health, Evanna and Susan continued delivering care to clients of Lookout Housing and Health Society until January 2023.
Evanna and Susan are co-recipients of many awards. In recognition of their contribution to inner city nursing, the Minister of Health, the Hon. Adrian Dix, recently presented them with the Order of British Columbia. Lookout Housing and Health Society announced that a building devoted to brain-injured adults will be named for her.
Evanna was passionate about nursing: “I loved my life as a nurse and saw every moment as a privilege and honour. I wore my nursing badge with pride on my cap and belt. Instead of becoming a nun I chose to serve Jesus as a nurse; it was a privilege bestowed on me by God. I never got tired of nursing.” Evanna lit up every room she entered and filled every relationship with love and support. She was an avid traveller, hiker, camper, fashionista, gourmet cook, wine connoisseur and feisty leprechaun. Evanna had survived two bouts of cancer: “I don’t want anyone to say that I lost the battle to cancer, I’m not a loser, I want to say I danced the dance with great joy, forever hopeful.”
A heartfelt thanks to all of the Palliative Care Team, 10D, St. Paul’s Hospital for remarkable care. A funeral mass will be held at St. Augustine’s Church, 2028 W 7th Ave, Vancouver, October 24, 2023 11 am.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Lookout Foundation or to St. Paul’s Foundation, with “Palliative Care Unit” in the Gift Information section.