Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Sheila Eileen Belton Dresen (1937-2022)

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Sheila Eileen Belton Dresen
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Nurse, educator, historian.

Born at Neepawa on 10 September 1937, daughter of educator George Scott Belton and nurse Edythe Anna Duncan (1903-1982), she grew up at Neepawa, Carberry, and Foxwarren, finishing high school at Winnipeg.

After high school, she attended United College (1957), University of Manitoba, University of Toronto, University of Wisconsin, and University of Illinois-Chicago where she obtained a doctoral degree in Nursing specializing in psychiatric/mental health nursing. Having earned seven degrees, her family often teased her about being a professional student. She was also an accomplished pianist and vocalist holding an associate degree in music.

She held positions as Director of Nursing at Wisconsin’s Mendota Mental Health Institute, Director for the Bureau of Clinical Services for the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections (1985-1988) including a temporary position as Warden of a medium security prison, Director of Nursing at Foothills Hospital in Calgary (1989-1993), and Program Director at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Manitoba Health Sciences Centre site (1993-1997). She also served as Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island (1997-2000), University of Windsor (2000-2003), and University of Regina (2009-2011).

In between her academic endeavors, she traveled Europe, met an American soldier while hitchhiking in Germany, got married, moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and raised two sons. She enjoyed extensive travels in both her personal and professional life having visited all continents except Antarctica.

She was President of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (2007-2008) and wrote the book Our Roots, Our Path, Our Evolution: The History of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (2013).

She died at Winnipeg on 12 March 2022 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Book commemorates a century of nursing in province,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 March 2013.

Dr. Sheila Dresen,” University of Winnipeg.

Obituary, Arbor Memorial.

This page was prepared by Curt Belton, Scott Dresen, and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 April 2022

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