Una Mary Uniacke Townshend (5C24)

Date of Birth: 20 Apr 1921
Date of Death: 8 Mar 2003
Generation: 8th
Residence: Edmonton, Canada
Father: Very Rev George Townshend [5C04]
Mother: Maxwell, Anna Sarah
  1. Deane, Richard
  1. Son
See Also: Table VC ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Una Mary Uniacke Townsend

Married 1960. Richard (Dick) Dean (1), a former member of the Harlem Globe Trotters basketball team.

Una was born in Ireland – probably in Ahascragh, Ballinasloe, County Galway. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, Gloucestershire, following which she became active in Baha'i (2) life in Ireland. During the latter part of World War II she served with the British armed forces in Italy.

In 1946 Una became the first Baha'i to settle in Dublin and this posed great challenges for a single woman seeking to find those who might be interested in hearing about her religion. However, as the number of Baha'is in Dublin grew, Una became an inaugural member of that city's first Local Spiritual Assembly, an elected nine-member administrative body. She later went to Liverpool to establish the first Local Spiritual Assembly there.

In October 1953, she became the first Baha'i to reside in Malta, earning her the title 'Knight of Baha'u'llah' (3), but it was not until 1973 that the first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Malta was formed.

In 1954, with her distinguished father suffering from Parkinson's disease, and on the instructions of Shoghi Effendi, Una returned to Dublin to help with the housework and also to assist her father with what Shoghi Effendi was to call his "crowning achievement" -- writing the book 'Christ and Baha'u'llah'.

After her father's death in March 1957 Una went to live in Canada and it was on a trip to Seattle that she met Richard Dean who was a Baha'i also. They settled in Edmonton and Una served on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Edmonton until 1987. In 1992 she went to the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel to attend a gathering of the Knights of Baha'u'llah.

Una died in Edmonton, Canada. Irish music was played at her funeral there, and messages from the National Spiritual Assemblies of Ireland and Malta were read out. A memorial service for her was held in August 2003 at the Baha'i national summer school in Ireland. Her obituary appeared in the May/June, 2003 edition of th 'Journal of the Bahá'í Community of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'

(1) Richard died in 1990.

(2) The Bahá'í Faith is the religion founded by Baha’u’llah in 19th century Persia and there are around six million Bahá'ís throughout the world. The core principles of Bahá'í teachings are often referred to simply as follows: the ‘Unity of God’, the ‘Unity of Religion’ and the ‘Unity of Mankind’.

(3) A designation given to those Bahá'ís who were the first to reside in a country, Una’s being Malta.