Bowker, Marjorie (Montgomery)

(1916 -? )

Though born in Prince Edward Island, Marjorie was raised in Wetaskiwin from age four. She obtained all her schooling there, finishing in 1934. She won medals in Grades 8 and 11.

She graduated in 1939 from the University of Alberta with degrees in Arts and Law, and practised with an Edmonton law firm. During the War, Marjorie carried on her husband's practice in that firm.

In 1966 she was appointed Judge of the Family and Juvenile Courts of Alberta, the first woman to hold this position. She served in that capacity for 17 years, retiring in 1983. Throughout most of her time as Judge, she conducted circuit court in Wetaskiwin once a month.

After her retirement she wrote several books on public issues all of which were national best sellers. All were of current concern at the time: "On Guard for Thee" (free trade) 1988; The Meech Lake Accord, 1990; "Canada's Constitutional Crisis: Making Sense of it all" 1991; as well as a booklet on "Canada's National Referendum: What is it all About?" 1992.

She has received many awards - including the Order of Canada in 1990 (the highest civilian honor to be accorded a Canadian); three honorary doctorate degrees, including one from a Women's University in Korea. On November 18, 1995 she was honored at a ceremony in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa as one of Canada's pioneer women judges.

Her husband, Wilbur Bowker, now retired, was Dean of Law at the University of Alberta for 20 years. They recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. Their 3 adult children are all in the health-care field, two in Ontario, one in Edmonton. There are 7 grandchildren.

(Her father was Frank Montgomery (partner in Montgomery Brothers Store and fur ranch) - he died in 1939. Her mother died in 1953 and her brother Jim Montgomery in 1992.

Other members of her family who continue to live in Wetaskiwin are: sister-in-law Irene Montgomery and Donald, Bob, Kathy and their families.

Category: Wetaskiwin