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Born: Feb 05, 1933

Date of Passing: Mar 14, 2022

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Myrna Ellen Rourke passed peacefully with her family by her side on March 14, 2022.
Myrna was born in Winnipeg on February 5, 1933, eldest daughter of Walter and Alice Sparks. The family lived in Transcona and then Portage la Prairie, where Myrna attended school. In 1944 the family returned to Minto, MB, where Walter and Alice had lived previously. In 1950, Myrna completed her high school at Brandon University, then embarked on her lifelong journey of learning. She completed her RN at Winnipeg General Hospital (and while in Winnipeg, met Donald Neil Rourke). Myrna and Donald were married in 1953 in Portage la Prairie and resided in Winnipeg. David was born in 1956, Douglas was born in 1957 but sadly only lived a week and Donna was born in 1960.
Myrna's drive for knowledge led her on a long career of education and a long career in nursing and administration. She completed a BN., M.Ed., M.N. and Ph.D., all the while working and raising her family with Don. She worked in the ER, the OR, in Children's hospital, lectured at the U of M, worked in Public Health and was Director of Nursing at Women's Hospital at HSC. Her Ph.D. was to develop screening criteria to identify families who would benefit from extra health care and support resources in their life as new parents. As a result of her thesis, this screening tool is used throughout Manitoba in hospitals and birthing centers for all new parents.
Myrna and Don lived in St. Vital, Sanford, Winnipeg and Stony Mountain, making friends wherever they were. Myrna and Don travelled extensively through the years, to England, Scotland, Ireland, throughout Europe, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands, the Caribbean, Hawaii and spent many winters in Yuma, AZ. She also travelled with daughter Donna and granddaughter Carol to Europe and Great Britain, as well as a trip to Africa with Donna, Lyle, Carol and a good friend Shirley. Don sadly passed in 2009 after 56 years of marriage. Myrna continued to travel with Friendship Force to India, Japan and to Brazil and Scotland with Shirley. She met her partner Terry Hercus, whom she spent ten years with, they also travelled, visiting Costa Rica and Peru. Myrna and Terry have lived in Winnipeg and Sydney, BC, permanently returning to Manitoba two years ago. Myrna's health has declined in the last couple years, but more so in the last few months. In February 2022, she moved to Donna and Lyle's where they have cared for her.
Myrna is survived by son David (Diane) and daughter Donna (Lyle Evenson); as well as six grandchildren, their spouses and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her partner Terry Hercus; sister Allayne; sisters-in-law, Isabel Rourke, Lil Rourke, brother-in-law Brian Littlewood and many nieces and nephews.
Myrna was predeceased by her husband Donald; infant son Douglas; her parents, Walter and Alice Sparks; infant brother William Morley; in-laws, Jack and Minnie Rourke.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests charitable donations to be made to the Hercus Rourke bursary at the University of Manitoba. Gifts may be made online at or sent to University of Manitoba, Alumni and Donor Relations, 200-137 Innovation Drive, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 6B6.
Mom's life was one of learning, dedicated work in health care, her family, music (piano, sax and clarinet), dancing, reading, dinner parties, friends, travel, knitting, painting and ceramics, enjoying life wherever she was. She healed, she nurtured, she studied, she loved and laughed. She's with Dad now, may they enjoy many dances together. Till we meet again.

MacKenzie Funeral Home
204 467 2525

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 19, 2022

Condolences & Memories (8 entries)

  • on behalf of the WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni we extend our sincerest condolences to Myrna's family and friends. Myrna is remembered as a gifted nurse and a wonderful, kind person. We are proud to have had Myrna as one of our own alumni sisters. - Posted by: MARIAN Ulyatt (WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni Friendship Convenor) on: Apr 07, 2022

  • Dear Donna & Lyle, David & Diane and families, We were so sorry to hear of your Mother's passing. She was a remarkable person who had achieved so many accomplishments. I can remember he telling me once when I was in University "if you really want it bad enough, you can do it!" I often think of those very wise words and often say them to myself. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. Respectfully, Brian, Margaret, Benjamin, Adam and Joyce Dusik - Posted by: Brian Dusik (Family Friend) on: Mar 20, 2022

  • My condolences to Mryna’s family and partner and friends. I worked at HSC in the Respiratory Hospital and then supervising on many areas. I always was fond pf Myrna’s strength and conviction of character to do what was needed and right for the patients. It became my goal to always carry that philosophy with me in all that info thanks to Mryna- a great teacher of kindness. She will be missed. - Posted by: Trish Rawsthorne (Retired nurse ) on: Mar 19, 2022

  • My condolences to Terry and Myrna's family. I had the pleasure of first meeting Myrna in Sanford, and meeting her again with Terry in Friendship Force. Her interests in life, in people, in learning, and in travel were remarkable and refreshing. I will miss her positive outlook and enjoyment of life. - Posted by: Helen Whetter (Friend) on: Mar 19, 2022

  • My sincerest condolences to you David, Donna & families, Your mom was my Director of Nursing at Women's Hospital; actually she was the one to hire me. I simply never had as great a Director of Nursing as your mom! She was a gem and I always appreciated her so much. May memories of her comfort you in this time of pain and sorrow. Mary Driedger - Posted by: Mary Driedger (My Director of Nursing at Women's Hospital) on: Mar 19, 2022

  • I met Myrna many years ago as when I was an art instructor at the International Music Camp. It was the start of a friendship that spanned around 12 years. She and Terry later started attending classes in my studio in Winnipeg. Always loved to hear the stories of her world travels and the passion she had for her work and the pride she had for her family. We are saddened to hear of her passing. - Posted by: Guy & Pam St. Godard (Art teacher) on: Mar 19, 2022

  • I am deeply saddened by the news of Myna’s passing. I had the honor to be Myrna’s advisor for her interdisciplinary doctoral degree at the University of Manitoba. Myrna was a unique combination of intellectual superiority, curiosity, drive, work-related accomplishments, and social skill. And she was a joy to work with. Her doctoral research was completely of her devising and not an extension of work by any member of her committee. When it became clear that she needed advice on some aspects of the analysis of her research data, Myrna identified the right expert and we added him to her committee. Most doctoral students are able focus full-time on their courses and research. In Myrna’s case, she also was heading Nursing at Health Sciences, a position that required substantial organizational and political acumen. It would have been understandable if she had put off completion of her doctoral work—but she did not! As your family can attest, Myrna also kept up to date of the accomplishments of her grandchildren. And she was proud of all of you. Truly, a remarkable human being. I am so happy to have been a small part of her life. John McIntyre - Posted by: JOHN MCINTYRE (DOCTORAL THESIS ADVISOR) on: Mar 19, 2022

  • I was Myrna’s Administrative Assistant for many years at Women’s Hospital. Besides being a great boss, she was a friend and was always there for me. After retirement we enjoyed great lunches and “trips down memory lane”. - Posted by: Judy Babb (Friend / Boss) on: Mar 19, 2022

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