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Former MP Edna Anderson, who had 'an iron will,' dies at 96

Anderson served as MP of Simcoe Centre from 1988 to 1993, and also co-founded the May Court Club in Barrie in 1970s

If you met her, you remembered her.

That’s how Liz Peacock-Anderson remembers her mother, Edna Anderson, who died on July 7.

She was 96.

Anderson was a member of the House of Commons of Canada from 1988 to 1993. The career businesswoman was elected as member of Parliament (MP) in the 1988 federal election in the Simcoe Centre electoral district for the Progressive Conservative party.

“When she grew up, she was seven when the Great Depression started and 18 when the Second World War broke out. So, she comes from the stoic generation where you didn’t complain and you just jumped into action. I think that really travelled with her throughout her whole life,” said Peacock-Anderson.

“She had an iron will. When she got her mind into something, she was committed to it.”

Anderson-Peacock was 28 years old when Anderson ran for MP. Politics ran in their blood as Anderson’s grandfather, James Dew Chaplin, represented the riding of Lincoln as MP from 1917 to 1935.

“We weren’t really that surprised,” said Anderson-Peacock. “She’d always done work in the background for many years prior to that.”

Anderson-Peacock said her mother was tireless while campaigning, knocking on doors from morning until night.

“She exhausted her team trying to keep up with her. Here’s this lady who was 66 running an election,” said Peacock-Anderson. “She completely wore out a pair of shoes during the campaign.”

Peacock-Anderson said her mother was most proud of her first speech in Parliament.

“She was also really proud of speaking on care for the elderly,” said Peacock-Anderson. “She was very proud of that.”

Anderson had worked in the constituency office of Ron Stewart prior to her own run, who served as MP for Simcoe South from 1979 to 1988.

“She was a very dedicated Tory,” said Stewart. “She always got along with all her colleagues. She was a hard-working lady.”

Anderson came from a musical background. She graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music and was a concert pianist.

“Music was always a part of her life. She loved entertaining and making people happy,” said Anderson-Peacock.

Anderson was also a co-founder of the May Court Club in Barrie in the early 1970s. Anderson had been involved with the St. Catharines iteration of the club prior to coming to Barrie, and wanted to bring the idea to the area.

“They did tremendous community work. Again, it was about, how do you create work that’s meaningful in different ways?” said Anderson-Peacock.

“It was about a sense of community, but it also brought a lot of women together. It got them out of the home if they weren’t working and gave them a sense of purpose through service as well,” she added.

When Anderson-Peacock looks back at her mother’s life, she feels her mother has taught her to do what she loves, and to do it fully.

“When you’re doing something you love, you’ll never regret it. Also, finding a joy in each day,” she said. “Those are the things I’m taking forward with my mom.”

“There are so many people she connected with. I think she would want them to know how important they were to her in her life, and have rubbed off on her in some way. They had a profound impact on her,” she added.

A visitation is taking place on Thursday, July 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home’s Worsley Street Chapel in Barrie, with a service and reception immediately following.

To leave a tribute for Anderson’s family, click here.

Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering County of Simcoe matters, education and features.
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