Memorable Manitobans: Winelda Naomi “Toadie” Gardner (1929-2008)
Born at Elkhorn on 27 January 1929, she moved to Winnipeg in 1951 with her husband Howard Loewen. While raising four children (Cheryl, John, Bill, and Naomi), she became active with Riverview United Church, was President of the Riverview Home and School Association and volunteered at the Riverview Community Club. Her life long commitment to the Liberal Party began in the 1960s when she worked to get Margaret Konantz elected to Parliament. In 1968 she ran unsuccessfully for election to the Manitoba Legislature. She became the first female to hold the office of president of a political party when she was elected President of the Manitoba Liberal Party. She also helped raise cattle on the family farm at Gardenton.
She served as First Vice President on the Canadian Council for the Status of Women. In 1981 she became Executive Director of the Women’s Employment Counseling Centre where she helped women prepare to enter the workforce. After her retirement in 1990, she went back to work researching, preparing papers and lobbying the Manitoba government to provide better services to those suffering from mental illness, along with their families. In 2005 she moved back to Elkhorn.
She died on 19 February 2008 while vacationing in Florida.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 February 2008.
“Manitobans’ Legacy a Better Province,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 2009, page B2.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 28 March 2016
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