Family, friends, commanders and colleagues gathered in Ottawa this week to bid a final farewell to Sheila Anne Hellstrom, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran and the first woman to reach the rank of brigadier-general in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Hellstrom was known for her confidence, compassion and fortitude in a male-dominated profession where women had long been relegated to secondary roles.
She mentored women, opened doors for them, and oversaw sweeping changes in the roles they would assume both inside and outside the military ranks.
A native of Lunenburg, N.S., she died last Dec. 7. She was 85.
Judy Harper, now a retired navy captain, first met Hellstrom in 1980, when Harper was a newly minted major under the combined services of the day and Hellstrom—a lieutena...