News that well-known public health nurse, Shirley Parkinson, and her husband Donald, were found deceased on their farm outside of Unity, SK started circulating around the community yesterday morning (September 11). A press release from the Saskatchewan media office of the RCMP, issued at 3 pm, confirmed the deaths and disclosed that police had found the bodies the evening before, Wednesday. Police were looking for Shirley after co-workers at the Unity Health Centre reported her missing.
(The RCMP press release follows, below.)
Many, many people in Unity and the surrounding area came to know Shirley as they took their babies to be immunized. She watched those babies grow up as she came to the schools for Grade 6 vaccinations and conducted health clinics at the high school.
For Shirley, public service didn’t stop at her job. She spent many years as a volunteer with the Air Cadets and – although her own children had long since graduated from the program – continued to be a mentor to young girls as a Sparks and Brownie leader. Residents will no doubt learn of other contributions she made as the weeks unfold.
Donald was devoted to his daughters and was often seen at events they were involved in. He too was a parent volunteer with the Air Cadets. He and Shirley took the girls to many concerts in bigger centres. He was self-employed, running a tractor parts business known as British Tractors.
The prayers and thoughts of the community are with Sarah and Zoe as they struggle to come to grips with this unforeseen tragedy. Many, many people are sending them love and hugs, although truthfully almost none of us can truly understand the pain and despair they must be going through. We can only hope the knowledge that at least some of their pain is shared by many others and that an enfolding circle of love and support is surrounding them will help a little.
RCMP press release, September 11, 2014
Unity RCMP received a complaint of a missing 56-year-old female from her co-workers, September 10 at 2 pm. As part of the investigation, shortly after 7 pm, members from the Unity detachment went to a residence in the RM of Round Valley, 15 kilometres northeast of Unity.
Members located the missing 56-year-old female, identified as Shirley Parkinson of the Unity area, deceased in an outbuilding on the property. Further investigation revealed a deceased 60-year-old male, identified as Donald Parkinson of the Unity area, outside on the property. The deceased female and male were married at the time of the incident, were not known to police and were located on their private property.
Investigators are not seeking any suspects and there is no risk to public safety. Autopsies have been ordered and the investigation continues with the assistance of Office of the Chief Coroner.
The family has asked that their privacy be respected as they grieve the loss of their family members.