Canadian Aviatrix #70 – Edith Treau de Coeli (1906-1996)

Mary Ruby Edith Treau De Coeli was born on 4 October 1906 to Edmond Treau De Coeli (mountaineer and land surveyor) and Elizabeth Rainboth.

Edmond was a member of the international commission to draw the border between Alaska and the Yukon between 1903-1913. Mount Decoeli in the Yukon was named in his honour.

1911 census

1921 census

Ottawa ON

Carleton ON














[Born and died 1905]









In 1936, Edith won a prize in the prose section of the Ottawa Arts and Letters Club competition, for her short story about “a dog’s bewilderment and regret over the absence of his mistress”.

Edith joined the Ottawa Flying Club and was one of “Rockcliffe’s Four Flying Ladies” with Margaret Rankine-Smith, Muriel Munn, and Gladys Smirle. Edith, Margaret and Gladys all worked as civil servants in the Post Office Department. All the women said they intended to offer their services in the event of war. When Elianne Roberge tried to organize women pilots to ferry planes across the country, the Ottawa women all volunteered.

On 28 September 1939, Edith passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 70th female pilot in Canada. She was 32 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #70 – Edith Treau de Coeli (1906-1996) 

Photo: The Ottawa Citizen (January 22, 1943)

Edith moved away from Ottawa in December 1940. She spent 18 months in London, Ontario, where she met her future husband. In 1942, she moved to Dayton, Ohio.

On 16 January 1943, Edith married Frederick Theodore Hagelstein. Fred was also a pilot and employed in production planning for the Waco Aircraft Company.

In 1951, Edith divorced Fred and reverted to her maiden name. She moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and worked as a secretary for the State Highway Department.

On 10 October 1954, Edith got remarried to William Dummer Powell – an air force veteran and engineer with an insurance company. The couple moved to Denver where Edith worked at the Rocky Mountain News, then became a book editor for Golden Bell Press. She was in several women’s press associations and was President of the Colorado Press Women in 1963.

The couple retired back to Santa Fe and did extensive volunteer work, including at The Santa Museums, the Hospital Auxiliary, the Opera guild, the State Historical Society, and on the Board of Trustees for the College of Santa Fe Library.

Edith died in 1996, aged 89.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots


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