Edith Radley was a United Church medical missionary to Angola and Zaïre for three decades. In recognition of her work, she received the Order of Canada.
Edith was born in Indiana and raised in Manitoba where she trained to be a nurse. In 1946, the Women’s Missionary Society appointed her to serve in Angola. As a public health nurse, Edith frequently travelled to outlying villages. She trained midwives in order to decrease incidences of maternal mortality and taught workers caring for leprosy patients how to teach their patients about self-care. Her intention was to minimize the effects of their disease by instructing them on nutrition and hygiene. The children loved Edith for the puppets she took along to facilitate delivery of health lessons as well as for her energy and infectious smile.
Edith remained in Angola until Portuguese authorities briefly imprisoned her and Dr Betty Bridgman in 1977 before expelling them. The two medical professionals returned to Africa, this time to Zaïre, and Edith worked there until retiring in 1981. She died near her home church of St Luke’s, Toronto in 1996.