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Evelyn Joan (Pedrotti) Potter
October 8, 1926 - July 25, 2019
Evelyn was born on October 8, 1926 on a dairy farm near Guernsey, Saskatchewan.
In 1946 she married Douglas H Potter and together they worked Doug’s grandparents’ homestead south of Biggar. They were married for 69 years and raised three children.
Evelyn was an active partner on the farm and participated in community affairs and politics. She was a member of the local School Board and a Director of the local Co-op Association. She served as a Director of Biggar and District Credit Union for six years. From 1993 to 2002 she was a Director, Vice President, and President of Biggar Museum and Gallery contributing 2000 volunteer hours.
Together the Potters joined the Saskatchewan Farmer’s Union where Evelyn quickly assumed a leadership role. First, she became District Women’s Director, then Women’s Vice President and finally Women’s President of the SFU.
In 1969 she was elected the first Women’s President of the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) and held the position for five years. In 1971 she was part of Canada’s first cultural exchange delegation invited to the People’s Republic of China. She represented the NFU internationally with Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) and led delegations of Canadian farm women to conferences in Michigan, USA; Perth, Australia; Cuba and South America. In 1976 her work promoting local growers resulted in the NFU’s publication “Nature Feeds Us” of which she was very proud. It broke new ground in what is now known as the food sovereignty movement.
Evelyn served on the Canada Council for Rural Development, the Canadian Environmental Advisory Council and the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Council. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights and was instrumental in convincing the Saskatchewan legislature to pass the Matrimonial Property Rights ACT of 1980.
Evelyn was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011. She helped lay the foundation for equity of women in farm organizations, rural communities and the nation as a whole.
She worked to build understanding across social, economic and political divides. Evelyn inspired and influenced many and will be deeply missed by her family; son Leslie Potter (Lorna Donlevy) granddaughter Danielle Potter (Michael Labbie) daughter Donna Potter grandson Michael Smith daughter Karen Potter (Merv Bilinski) grandson Shayne Lazarowich (Cindy Zavala) granddaughter Karla Duchesne (Rob Duchesne) great grandsons Hudson and Jacob, brother Jim Pedrotti, numerous nieces and nephews, friends and neighbours.
At Evelyn’s request there will be no funeral service. There will be a “Celebration of Her Life” in conjunction with an Exhibition Closing Reception “China Through Saskatchewan Eyes- Evelyn Potter’s 1971 Journey” at the Biggar Museum and Gallery on Saturday, August 24 from 1pm to 5pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Biggar Museum and Gallery, PO Box 1598, Biggar SK S0K 0M0
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