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Marion Stinson Crerar

Marion Elizabeth Stinson Crerar (September 8, 1859 — May 20, 1919) was a Canadian clubwoman focused on public health, and especially active during World War I.

Marion Stinson Crerar
Marion Stinson Crerar, from a 1906 publication.
Born(1859-09-08)8 September 1859
Hamilton, Ontario
Died20 May 1919(1919-05-20) (aged 59)
Cuthbert John Ottaway
(m. 1877; died in 1878)

Peter Duncan Crerar
(m. 1884; died in 1912)

Early lifeEdit

Marion Elizabeth Stinson was born in Hamilton, Ontario, the daughter of John Stinson and Emma Caroline Counsell Stinson. Her father was a banker who died from tuberculosis when Marion was six years old. Marion was educated in Canada and in England.[1]


Marion Stinson Crerar helped to found the Hamilton branch of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), a women's club, and served as the club's regent from 1902 to 1919.[2] She led the club in promoting locally-made goods in Hamilton, and raising funds for tuberculosis prevention. The latter work led to her joining the women's auxiliary of the Hamilton Health Association, which operated the Hamilton Mountain Sanatorium for Consumptives.[3] She also founded a second sanatorium at London, Ontario.[4] She was the only woman speaker at the Ontario Anti-Tuberculosis Convention in 1908.[5]

During World War I, she worked with the IODE and the Canadian Red Cross to raise money for Canadian troops. In 1915 she opened her own home as a convalescent home for returning servicemen.[4] Also in 1915, she persuaded the Canadian National Committee of Women for Patriotic Service to send a letter of support and loyalty to the King of England.[6] In 1917, she advised "the new women voters" to keep their votes secret, saying "The women's votes can be of enormous power if we do not make the mistake of talking too much."[7]

All three of her sons enlisted; one son (Alistair Crerar) was badly wounded in 1918,[8] and one son (Malcolm Crerar) was killed in action as a member of the Royal Air Corps in 1917.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Marion Stinson married twice. Her first husband was English lawyer Cuthbert John Ottaway; they married in 1877 and she was pregnant with her daughter Lilian Ottaway and 18 years old when he died from tuberculosis months later. She married again in 1884, to Scottish-born lawyer Peter Duncan Crerar;[10] they had four children together, including Harry Crerar, a Canadian general during World War II.[11] Her daughter Lilian married Sir Adam Beck, an English hydropower expert in Ontario.[12]

Marion Stinson Crerar was widowed a second time in 1912. She died in 1919, aged 59 years, from diabetes.[4]


  1. ^ C. W. Parker, ed., Who's Who in Canada (International Press Ltd 1914): 823.
  2. ^ Jean Graham, "The I. O. D. E." Canadian Magazine (April 1906): 592.
  3. ^ "To Get Home for the Incurables" Ottawa Journal (January 15, 1907): 8. via 
  4. ^ a b c Paul Dickson, "Marion Stinson Crerar" Dictionary of Canadian Biography (1998).
  5. ^ "The Anti-Tuberculosis Convention" Canadian Magazine (April 1908): 571.
  6. ^ "Canadian Women Send Message to the King" Vancouver Daily World (July 22, 1915): 5. via 
  7. ^ "Notable Speech by Mrs. P. D. Crerar" Winnipeg Tribune (December 4, 1917): 4. via 
  8. ^ Untitled news item, Times Herald (April 6, 1918): 4. via 
  9. ^ "Second Lieutenant Malcolm Charlton Crerar" Lives of the First World War.
  10. ^ Paul D. Dickson, "The Crerars of Hamilton: A Study of Two Scottish Immigrants" Scottish Tradition 19(1994): 49-51.
  11. ^ Paul Douglas Dickson, A Thoroughly Canadian General: A Biography of General H.D.G. Crerar (University of Toronto Press 2007): 4. ISBN 9780802008022
  12. ^ James Reaney, "Beck Maligned as Unsuitable Suitor" Canoe Network News (May 23, 2004).