About Agnes Calder

By Patricia Calder

Mary Agnes Harding, 1889 – 1979, married an Anglican minister (Archibald Clement Calder) in 1912.

In Qu’appelle, Saskatchewan she had 3 little boys in 3 ½ years, Jake, Jack, and Gerald. The young family moved to Wallaceburg, ON where Mary was born in 1918, then to Chatham where Marjorie, 1919, and Philip, 1922, were born.

Painted portrait of Mary Agnes Calder from 1915

Within the Anglican Church Agnes pioneered the integration of women’s and men’s services.

In 1935 the family moved to Goderich. Jack’s reputation as a popular sports journalist was growing.

In 1938 Gerald was killed in a car accident in Montreal. He might have been visiting Jack who was covering sports in Montreal as well as Ontario.

The family had little time to grieve.

In January, 1940 Jake and Jack signed up to fight. Philip would follow after graduating from high school.

Portrait of Agnes Calder

This scrapbook covers 1940 – 1945. Jake and Philip served in Italy with Montgomery. Both were wounded. Jack went missing three times from the Airforce.

Agnes and Archie moved to Owen Sound in 1941. Agnes became Chair of the Board of Education. She dealt with shortage of teachers, food rationing, fatherless children, and students whose mothers became widows or joined the workforce.

After Archie died in 1951 Agnes became First Vice President of the Anglican Church Women for Canada. She travelled the country by train as an inspirational speaker for fifteen years. She was recognized as a woman of vision and an able administrator. She lived until she was 90.