DIEFENBAKER, Edna May


Edna May Diefenbaker (born Edna May Brower) was the first wife of John George Diefenbaker, Canada's 13th Prime Minister. (John Diefenbaker, who died in 1979, is buried on the grounds of the Diefenbaker Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, next to his second wife, Olive.)

Born in 1901 on a farm in the Langham area, she was a teacher at Mayfair elementary school when she married John Diefenbaker in 1929, at age 28. She is remembered as an friendly, outgoing person who worked hard to further the political future of John Diefenbaker. She would sit in the gallery and watch the debates in the House when he was a backbencher.

Edna died at 50 on February 7, 1951. She had fought a lengthy battle against leukemia. Newspapers called her "the beloved unelected member of Parliament". She had been married to John Diefenbaker for 22 years.

Edna May Diefenbaker is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery with other members of the Diefenbaker family; John's mother Mary, his father, brother and an uncle.

A book about her life, "The Other Mrs. Diefenbaker: A Biography of Edna May Brower", written by Simma Holt, was published in 1982 by Doubleday Canada Limited (ISBN 0-385-17089-0).


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