Edith Stiles

Published December 14, 2019

Edith Stiles

STILES, Edith - On December 12 about three weeks shy of her 102nd birthday, the curtain fell and the houselights came up one last time for Edith Stiles (née Webster), well known in amateur theatre in Cornwall and throughout Ontario. Edith was blessed with a long life, and a good one, too. She was born in Cleveleys, England, in 1918 and emigrated with her family to Didsbury, Alberta in 1925. Her mother, Enid, and her father, Roland, were more interested and better suited to the arts than they were to the hardscrabble life of homesteading on the prairies. She had an older sister, Dorothy and a younger brother, Roland, both predeceased. A summer course at the Banff School of Fine Arts piqued Edith’s interest in the stage. But she needed an income and rather than becoming a secretary, one of the few employment options available to women in those days, she studied nursing and found work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria. She met a handsome airman, George (“Bill”) Stiles (predeceased, former lawyer and Judge), on the ferry between Victoria and Vancouver in 1941. They were married the following year. After the war, they moved to Cornwall where they raised three children, Michael (Jeannette), Mark (late Anne) and Shirley McGlynn (Michael). Edith worked at the Hotel Dieu Hospital and later the Children’s Aid Society before turning her talents to theatre. Beginning in the early 1950s, she joined the Cornwall Little Theatre where she worked backstage, acted, produced and directed. She became president of the Eastern Ontario Drama League and a board member of the Dominion Drama Festival and later the Upper Canada Playhouse. In 2015, Cornwall honoured Edith with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a place in the Arts Collective’s Hall of Fame. She will be missed by many, especially her three children, six grandchildren – Eric, Justin, Philip, Tim, Zachary and Keely – and four great-grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held at Trinity Anglican Church, Cornwall in the New Year. If so desired, the family would welcome contributions in her memory to Cornwall’s Arts and Culture Centre or Trinity Anglican Church. Online messages of condolence may be made in the obituary section of: www.wilsonfuneralhome.ca