Lois Darlene Edie
(1932 – 1998)
Lois Darlene Duke Edie of Dugald was born in a log cabin near Redvers Saskatchewan on October 2, 1932 descending from a long line of strong prairie pioneer women. She never forgot her agrarian roots, becoming a leader in agriculture.
“Observe, remember and compare” was Edie’s life motto. She trained as a registered nurse but her career changed to farming in 1955 when she married Norman Edie. She gave birth to her first of five children in 1956, and while raising a growing family she contributed as an equal partner in expanding the business of Edie Farms. In 1974, Norman and Lois won the Red River Exhibition Manitoba Farm Family of the Year award.
The Western Canadian Wheat Growers welcomed her as a director on their board in 1987 and made her a lifetime director. At a time when women were not commonly seen on agricultural boards, Lois Edie challenged the Honourable Charlie Mayer, Canada’s Agriculture Minister as to why oats was still under the control of the Canadian Wheat Board. She expressed concern over the inclusion clause, the secrecy of the CWB, the CWB monopoly and lack of choice in wheat marketing and wanted to see a similar system to that proposed for Ontario.
To promote agriculture and all it offers, Lois Edie also was instrumental in the creation of Manitoba Farm Vacations, a venue for urban families to experience agriculture firsthand. It’s now known as Manitoba Country Vacations Association.
As a beef producer, Edie established The Manitoba Beef Information Centre, in 1971, as a vehicle to showcase and promote beef products. She even invited chef Madame Jehane Benoit to cook with her at trade shows in Winnipeg to promote Manitoba Beef.
Edie also served on the Manitoba Disaster Board from 1988 to 1997, deeply concerned about the effects of flooding on Manitoba’s farms.
In addition to her leadership in the agriculture industry, Lois Edie was a life-long role model for empowering women. She joined the Manitoba Women’s Institute (MWI) in 1967 and led the organization as president in the early 1980’s. It was at that time when she went head-to-head with Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his quest for the Charter of Rights.
She was also a member of The Dugald Fashion Review, modeling original vintage outfits, along with her daughters. Spearheaded by Wynnifred Van Slyck, The Fashion Review inspired and helped create The Dugald Costume Museum.
In her Legacy book Edie wrote: “I enjoyed the opportunities of meeting new people and sharing challenges. I have always enjoyed ‘Male Meetings’ being the only one or one of a few females around the table and challenging the thinking and agenda. Dinner with the Prime Minister Trudeau in 1981 was an experience. Representing Manitoba Women’s Institute at the signing of the constitution in Ottawa as a guest of Premier Howard Pauley was a special honour. “
A genuine trailblazer, who contributed so much to so many, Lois Edie died at age 65 in 1998.
Lois Edie and Pierre Trudeau