Home Town or Home Community:

Regina, Bulyea, Assiniboia, Shaunavon, Sturgis, Yorkton, Sutherland, Saskatoon

Our Story:

Saskatchewan Educational Pioneers

This story of the Martin family is dedicated to teachers, study supervisors, school inspectors, school superintendents, school trustees and parents, especially those who kept schools operating during the Great Depression and the Second World War. They were “Saskatchewan’s Educational Pioneers”.


John Russell and Janet Mabel Martin came to Saskatchewan in 1917. Russell, as he was called, was a teacher in Ontario. He arrived first, in July, to find employment. He accepted a position in Regina as a clerk at the Canadian National Telegraph office.

Russell returned to Ontario to marry Janet Mabel Wilson. They were married September 18, 1917 in Ottawa, then traveled to Regina by railway. Interviewed by his granddaughter in his eighties he recalled that his salary as a teacher in Ontario had been $500.00 a year and with the CNR was $780. With this salary they rented a house on Wascana Street for $20.00 a month and purchased a piano, a chesterfield, a dining room suite and other household items.

The Martins could each trace ancestors living in Canada for three generations, with one branch of Russell’s family in America for five generations.

Russell’s paternal ancestors were from County Antrim, Ireland. His grandfather, John, arrived in Upper Canada about 1838. His mother, Sarah Jane Crowder, had an English-Dutch background. One branch of her family, the Elbares, originally from Alsace-Lorraine, came to America as early as 1756.

Russell’s paternal grandfather, John, settled with his family on a farm in Upper Canada near what is now Hallville, Ontario. Russell’s father was William. He and Russell were both born in the house that still stands in this farmyard. William died when Russell was only13 years of age, the eldest of six brothers. This left his mother, Sarah Jane, to raise her boys. She encouraged Russell in his schooling and with insurance left by her husband she made it possible for him to attend Kemptville High School and the Ottawa Normal School.

Wedding Photo of Russell and Janet Martin, Sept 18, 1917 Year: 1917 Place Name: Ottawa, ON

Wedding Photo of Russell and Janet Martin, Sept 18, 1917
Year: 1917
Place Name: Ottawa, ON

Janet’s paternal grandfather, Thomas, also arrived about 1838 with his family from Dumfrieshire, Scotland. Her father, Matthew, was born in Upper Canada. Her maternal great-grandfather, Hugh Hughes, arrived from County Wicklow, Ireland in 1824 with his family. Her mother, Eliza Jane Hughes, was also born in Upper Canada.

Thomas Wilson and his sons settled in the Melvin Settlement near Winchester, in what is now part of Ontario. Janet was born in a two-story brick home, one of two houses built side by side by the Wilson brothers. These houses still stand like sentinels on a road leading into Winchester. Janet was the fourth of six children, with two brothers and three sisters. As was fairly common for girls, Janet attended school only until grade eight, then took some bible school training in Winchester.

A Return to Teaching

Russell continued as a night clerk with the Canadian National Railway in Regina until January 1919 then returned to teaching. He accepted a position at Bulyea, Saskatchewan as Principal of the Bulyea Public and Continuation School, giving instruction in grades five to eleven. Teaching salaries had improved greatly by this time. His starting salary in Bulyea was $1400.00 a year.

Two sons were born while the Martins were in Bulyea: John Rae and Ralph Wilson. Each died in infancy. Tragically, that was not uncommon in the 1920’s. It is hard to imagine the pain this brought the Martins, especially as they were far from their Ontario families and friends. The boys are buried in the Regina Municipal Cemetery.

Obtaining a University Education

Like many teachers, Russell took correspondence courses and attended summer schools working towards university degrees. To attend summer school the Martins traveled to Ontario at least twice in a car that he and a friend had put together from parts, tenting along the way. Interviewed by his granddaughter, Marina, when he was eighty-six, he told her this car had a Model T engine and chassis, with a Gray-Dort body. It had a crank and running boards. He could buy three gallons of gas for one dollar, he said. The speed limit reportedly was 10 miles per hour within municipalities, 20 miles per hour on the highway and 6 miles per hour when passing horses. It seems unbelievable now to even dream of traveling back and forth to Ontario in such a car on roads as they were and at these speeds. For years, Russell always carried two spare tires in the trunk of his car. Even though teased about it, he was reluctant to give up this habit.

In the fall of 1923 Russell enrolled for a full year at Queen’s University to complete his Bachelor of Arts Degree. He graduated in 1924, honored with the Gold Medal in Biology. In 1935, he received his Bachelor of Paedagogy Degree from the University of Toronto.

Russell was a diligent student. In the summer following his year at Queen’s, Russell joined one of his professors, Dr. A. Brooker Klugh at the Atlantic Biological Station, St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick. They performed biological experiments on the effect of light on algae, jointly authoring academic papers. Had times been different with bursaries and loans available, and if his mentor had not been killed in a tragic car accident, it is possible that Russell would have pursued a scientific, academic career. That was not to be, but the short while at St. Andrew’s imprinted on his mind the dream of being a research scientist, a dream that remained with him throughout his life.

Teaching High School

In 1924, the Martins returned from Queens University to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, where Russell taught in the high school and served as Assistant Principal and then as Acting Principal.

In October 1927, they moved to Shaunavon where he taught biology, physics and chemistry in the high school. He became an active participant in the Shaunavon community. He was a Shaunavon correspondent for the Regina Leader Post. He set provincial grade twelve exams for the Department of Education and in the summer marked these papers in Regina. Sometimes he filled in for the United Church Minister. He claimed he was once asked in the same year by two different parties to run for provincial politics.

A daughter, Muriel Elaine, was born in Assiniboia. A second daughter, Mary Jean, was born in Shaunavon. Proud parents, the girls became the center of their parents’ lives.

On the front steps of Bulyea home Year: 1920 Place Name: Bulyea, SK Russell and Janet on front steps of Bulyea home (Note her leather boots)

On the front steps of Bulyea home
Year: 1920
Place Name: Bulyea, SK
Russell and Janet on front steps of Bulyea home (Note her leather boots)

During the “Dirty Thirties,” Russell researched information about “strip farming” sharing information with farmers beginning this practice. He took particular interest in fossils found in lignite coal in mines south of Shaunavon, collecting botanical specimens from this coal in a huge handmade tin cylindrical container that he strapped to his back. Camping at Kokett’s Ranch near Eastend was a favourite pastime of the Martins and their girls. Russell made his own tent and sails for a sailboat, sewing them on his wife’s sewing machine which she claimed was never again the same.

Countless stories tell of the hard times during the Great Depression. There are also stories of good times that he told and retold. Russell became an amateur actor. He played the part of the English Squire Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer” and of Jean Val Jean in “The Bishop’s Candlesticks”, based on an episode in Hugo’s “Les Miserables.” “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” based on one of the stories in Arabian Nights was performed complete with an orchestra, harem girls, a chorus, lavish scenery and dramatic costumes. Large cardboard jars were painted to look like pottery. At first the plays were presented in a small, former vaudeville theatre with costumes rented from Malabar’s in Winnipeg, but later, when the Great Depression deepened, more modest productions were staged in the high school auditorium. Russell and a fellow teacher, G. W. Cockell, wrote at least one play: “Christmas Eve in Whitemud Valley,” a melodramatic operetta, and wrote a short farce called “The Fickle Gypsy” compiled from various sources.

Russell played a violin and joined the Marshall dance orchestra in Shaunavon. Russell loved the old jigs, reels, polkas and waltzes. His thumping Irish foot kept a steady beat. The Marshalls’ daughter, Elsie, years later, became first violinist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He proudly recalled how privileged he had been to have had the opportunity to play with so talented a performer and her family. When the Martins moved to Saskatoon, Russell, for a short time, played viola with the Symphony Orchestra.

The Ideal Mother

Janet took great pride being a mother and homemaker. Her daughters were always greeted by a warm cheerful answering hello when they returned from school. Janet was also active in the community, particularly her church. She taught Sunday School and was superintendent of the Sunday School at St. Paul’s United Church in Sutherland. At Grace United Church in Saskatoon she took great pleasure welcoming young families, enrolling their babies in the “Cradle Roll.” Over the years she was a member of both the Ladies Aid and the Women’s Missionary Society.

Janet volunteered at the Saskatoon Art Centre, which for a time was in the basement of the King George Hotel, long before the Mendel Art Gallery became a reality. When her daughters were at University she too became a student, auditing classes in music and art.

One of Janet’s favourite weekly activities was to read to a blind neighbour. In fact, she would read to anyone who would listen. For her daughters, being sick meant being held captive to many a wonderful book. TV may now take the place of a “sitter” in some homes, but the warmth surrounding her readings could not be matched.

A measles outbreak in Shaunavon in the days before antibiotics meant that homes where children had the disease were under quarantine. When the Martin girls both came down with measles, Janet took in the sick children of the family who ran the local dairy farm. Russell had to board across the street, only allowed home morning and evening to tend to the furnace. Coincidentally, their younger daughter, teaching in a rural school in1952, had a similar experience when she could not board in a home where the children had measles but had to be boarded temporarily by another family.

The Martin Daughters Year: 1936 Place Name: Shaunavon, SK Mary Jean and Elaine posing for a photographer (Mary Jean had cut her own hair ecspecially for the picture!)

The Martin Daughters
Year: 1936
Place Name: Shaunavon, SK
Mary Jean and Elaine posing for a photographer (Mary Jean had cut her own hair ecspecially for the picture!)

Hobos who rode the rails looking for work in the Thirties had signs at railway stops to identify where a friendly meal might be found. The Martin home seems to have been such a destination, as hobos would regularly arrive at the back door asking for food. They were always welcomed. They would sometimes volunteer to perform a chore such as chopping wood.

Wherever Janet lived, children were welcome. Parents knew her friendly laughter would make a great place for their children to play and learn. There were no play schools or day care centres in those days, but the Martin household provided interesting things for children to do. They could play the piano, be trusted to help with dishes, knit, sew, or help bake. They could play store, be read to, or just visit. Janet’s grandson, Paul, who would have been only 4 years old when she died, shares this memory: “Grandma had acquired a popcorn maker and enthusiastically decided to make popcorn. I remember her putting the popcorn kernels into the device and turning on the stove. Next thing I knew, popcorn was shooting through the kitchen. Grandma seemed delighted. I remember her laughing at what seemed to me to be an occasion when my own mother would not be quite so delighted. Popcorn has ever since been one of my favorite foods and associated with happiness.”

Another memory Paul shared was this: “I was in my bedroom where there was a high window. Suddenly there was a strange noise. Grandma came running to the room and picked me up to look out the window. Our house was across from a school and there was a large schoolyard. Far away near the school was a man dressed strangely with an even stranger thing on his shoulder. I now know the man was a piper in full regalia playing as only pipers in an open field can play. The sound was gripping but might have been forgotten had I not seen tears in grandma’s eyes as she held me. I have never forgotten the unique combination of joy and wistful sadness that I saw in my grandma’s tearful eyes and smiling face. Bagpipe music always brings back a memory of grandma who seemed able to hold contradictory emotions simultaneously.”

The Martins’ piano, purchased when they first came to Regina, was an upright “New Scale Williams” piano, made of heavy “fumed oak.” They moved this with them to their many places of residence. Janet played tunes from “The Monster Imperial” and sometimes accompanied Russell on his violin. While in Sutherland, the piano was used for piano lessons by Miss Janet Palmer, a music teacher from nearby Saskatoon. During the teen and university years of her daughters, doors were always open for friends, music and good times, especially when someone could play this piano for a singsong.

Inspector of Schools

In 1938 “Mr. Martin” was appointed “Inspector of Schools” with the Saskatchewan Department of Education. This took the Martins to Sturgis, then Yorkton, then to the Saskatoon West School Unit. The title was “Inspector” when he was appointed and “Superintendent” when he was in Yorkton and Saskatoon. Today the title would be “Director of Education” or “Chief Executive Officer.”

Stories abound about how frightening the arrival of the “inspector” could be, especially to rural children who hardly knew any adults except their own neighbours and relatives. Teachers understandably would be nervous, as they would want to be seen in a good light. In stories and films that tell about the life of a teacher on the prairies such as Braithwaite’s “Why Shoot the Teacher” the school inspector is usually portrayed as a meddlesome intruder but perhaps there should be a book written from the viewpoint of the inspector.

The Martin Family at Crystal Lake Year: 1937 Place Name: Sturgis, SK This photo was taken when the family was on their way from Shaunavon to Sturgis for Russell to take up duties as a school inspector

The Martin Family at Crystal Lake
Year: 1937
Place Name: Sturgis, SK
This photo was taken when the family was on their way from Shaunavon to Sturgis for Russell to take up duties as a school inspector

Mr. Martin enjoyed his visits to the schools. On one occasion at least, he made his visit a special one. He had a car radio tuned to the World Series. When he knocked on the school door that day he invited the students and the teacher to join him to hear the rest of the game. Maybe it was his way to hear the end of the game himself.

On another occasion, so the story goes, he and some students watched with great excitement as the odometer on his old Buick clicked past 200,000 miles. He had stopped his car just inside the schoolyard so students could witness this momentous occasion with him. He never had a new car, but he took great pride in keeping his second hand cars in top running order, perhaps recalling his very first car put together with a friend, or of his Essex, or of his Model T Ford.

Inspecting Country Schools

Inspecting rural schools presented many challenges. First, there were the roads. There was little or no pavement in those days. Gravel was a luxury. Dirt roads became muddy quagmires when it rained. Clay, muskeg and gumbo were common. During the winter, the car was put on blocks until spring. The inspector then traveled by bus or train to get to town schools saved for winter months. He stayed in rural hotels or boarding houses when he could not get home. Sometimes he would arrange to be taken by livery in a sleigh or cutter. One trip made in bitterly cold weather, 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, was made in an open sleigh pulled by one horse and one ox. On another occasion, the livery driver refused to travel, with the travel voucher stating, “Too cold for driving in an open horse-drawn carriage.”

During the war there was gas rationing. The Department of Education was diligent about making sure that not one extra mile was traveled. Mr. Martin helped sell Wartime Victory Bonds, War Savings Certificates and arrange Victory Loans. He served on the provincial committee of the National War Finance Committee. On one trip related to the Victory Bonds he drove to Melville on his way home to Yorkton from a nearby school. He had to file a special report to account for the few extra miles and the extra ration coupons he had used.

During the Second World War many teachers had enlisted for active war duty, which resulted in an acute shortage of qualified teachers. To alleviate this shortage, short courses at the provincial normal schools were organized, sometimes just six weeks in length. For some “study supervisors”, as the graduates were called, this became their only training. Russell and fellow inspectors were called to assist as instructors during what might otherwise have been their holiday time.

Teachers in rural schools lived in teacherages or boarded in the community. The inspector, when visiting a school, sometimes miles from a neighbouring farm, might find the person in charge still a teenager, maybe with only a grade ten or grade eleven. Sometimes he would find the young teacher ill or homesick. Records show one school was closed because the teacher had contracted diphtheria, another for “epidemic influenza.” Some teachers were lonely, anxious to have an opportunity to talk to another educator. They might discuss problems about the curriculum, attendance or discipline, but also trouble with the school building, the teacherage, sanitation, supplies, or even with the school board or parents, and sometimes about very personal problems. Special-needs children were a concern. Referrals to Brantford, Ontario, for blind students, and referrals to Saskatoon for deaf children were necessary. Sometimes a student had to be suspended or expelled requiring special meetings with parents and the chairman of the school board.

Opening the door to a school, the inspector would never know just what to expect. He might be met by exemplary teaching, or by unprepared lessons. He would share pride when he found students being coached brilliantly. When there were problems, he would offer guidance. In town schools, villages and rural areas, even in remote settings, education on the prairies would be happening. It was the only formal schooling that many students would ever experience. It was a starting point for some who would go on to further education. He would be thrilled when he found students excelling for their age and grade. (Syl Fedoruk, who became a Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor, was a student in a rural school near Yorkton – perhaps Mr. Martin observed her in class where her father was a teacher.)

An informal 1944 survey concerning a “Prospective Shortage of Teachers” showed that in Mr. Martin’s superintendency 10 women were leaving that year. Four were to be married, one was entering another profession, one was ill, three cited “family circumstances” and one reported an “unknown” reason. Of the men, however, of ten leaving, nine were enlisting in the army and one cited ill health. Finding and hiring teachers to fill these vacancies was always a first priority.

Russell and Janet Year: 1947 Place Name: Sutherland, SK Russell and Janet going out for the evening (Note the hats and her white gloves)

Russell and Janet
Year: 1947
Place Name: Sutherland, SK
Russell and Janet going out for the evening (Note the hats and her white gloves)

(A story that deserves to be researched is about the contributions female study supervisors and teachers made to rural communities. Often they married the local bachelor, raised a family and farmed along with their husbands. They usually continued their interest in education for themselves and for their children. They possessed leadership skills gained in their classrooms. Their influence in local organizations is a story that needs to be told.)

In the Yorkton Superintendency, one report shows Mr. Martin supervised the work of 12 urban and 74 rural schools. That included 52 urban and 74 rural teachers, for a total of 126 teachers. In a survey, taken near the end of the war, asking for the qualifications of teachers operating the schools, one report showed “no teachers with degrees” in any of his elementary schools. (This survey only reported the degrees for elementary teachers.) (His notes show there were a few, but very few, in the high schools.) Yet, significantly, schools throughout the province were kept open during the war years when more qualified teachers were absent serving in the armed forces.

When the war was over, returning soldiers who had been teachers were promised jobs. In fact there was an effort made to speed the release of qualified teachers if they planned to return to teaching positions. They might well, however, have become commissioned officers in the service. Many would want to move on to other careers or to continue their own education. It was hoped that some would choose to return to their home communities. School boards were encouraged to increase salaries to attract them.

Because of the shortage of teachers, schools with small enrolments, particularly with less than fifteen students, were invited to close their schools by making arrangements for their students to attend neighbouring schools. While it was recognized that this would be unpopular it was felt necessary to keep schools operating. Thus in 1944, the move to Larger School Units began. (In the year 2004 when this story is being written, the province is once again drawing new administrative boundaries encouraging amalgamation of smaller schools.)

Operating a Home Office

After a full day of inspecting schools and confronting whatever problem had to be faced, Mr. Martin would return home. There was no downtown office or any secretary to type reports. His office was in the dining room of one Martin house, a bedroom of another. He built the furniture for these offices as none was issued from Regina: a crude filing box/cabinet and a massive table to hold his papers, both made of pine. When company arrived, Janet simply covered this office furniture with tablecloths.

He did his own typing on a manual typewriter, a Smith Corona, purchased in North Dakota for $25.00. Correspondence had to be typed through several sheets of carbon paper, as there were no copying machines in those days. Many a loud curse word could be heard if he made a mistake near the end of a page. He also had a portable typewriter with a French keyboard that fascinated his girls. He did his own filing and mailing. He kept track of every penny spent for approval by department officials in warm Regina offices. He typed reports far into the night after his days in the schools and driving Saskatchewan roads. His daughters both say they can best fall asleep if they can hear a typewriter pounding away.

His was not a nine-to-five job nor was it a five day a week job. The “Inspectorate Library” that consisted mainly of school curricula, reference books for teachers and supplementary readers for students was housed in the Martin home. Teachers would arrive at all hours any day of the week to borrow a book or to ask advice. The advantage for the daughters was having a library in their home. They grew up with this strange assortment of books along with the newspapers, magazines and Book-of-the-Month Club selections subscribed to by their parents. They also had a set of a Science Encyclopedia with heavy brown leather covers that became dog-eared from curious readers.

Mr. Martin helped organize the change to Larger School Units. When he moved from the Yorkton Superintendency to the Saskatoon West Larger School Unit in 1946, he gained a downtown office in the Avenue Building. He worked along with a “helping teacher” and with the secretary-treasurer for the Unit Board. Today, in addition to the Director, a number of other professionals provide a variety of services in administration, human resources and instruction. The system has become a large, complex organization, far different from its early beginnings where the inspector/superintendent was a one-person operation.

Instructing Teachers

In 1951 “JR” left the Saskatoon West School Unit as their “superintendent” to become an “instructor” at the Saskatoon Normal School. He had performed similar duties during summers during the war years, but now he became a full time instructor in Social Studies for the next ten years.

In 1952 the name of the Saskatoon Normal School changed to the Saskatoon Teachers College. In 1965 the school was incorporated into the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. He began when the school was called Normal School, but retired in 1962 when it was called the Teachers College, three years before the change to the University.


After his career as an educator, Russell began his retirement by taking on new challenges such as building a rowboat in the basement of the Martins’ Saskatoon home. His friends speculated about whether or not he would be able to get it up the narrow stairway. He had planned for that by building it in two sections, keeping this a surprise, just grinning if he were asked. Once built and then joined together outside the basement, he spent many a happy day at Emma Lake in his rowboat. His grandson, Andrey, visited there when about twelve years of age and tells the story this way: “I will never forget the 1.5 horsepower motor with a speed control handle. It was hard to know the darn thing was running at all. I remember when Grandpa asked me to take the controls. After much instruction and ready for a burst of speed, I sat down and proceeded to turn the motor up to the maximum setting. The boat took an almost unnoticeable lurch when Grandpa turned and yelled, ‘Don’t gun it!’ I quickly let off the speed so that we soon went back to our almost dormant state in the middle of Emma Lake.”

He also built a small “shack” he called “Rustic Roost” that became a “cabin” when he added a second room and Janet added curtains to the windows. The aroma of bread baked in the small wood-fired range is a fond memory of his girls from days when Janet was there. Years later, waking up in the cabin early one morning, Andrey tells of watching Grandpa starting up the pot bellied stove in one of the rooms. Andrey recalls: “ I slept on a hard little bed with thick wool blankets. I don’t think I have ever been as comfortable since.”

After a short retirement Russell was thrilled to be invited to fill in temporarily for the Superintendent of Schools at Wadena. He had taken great pride in having been a superintendent and it was icing on the cake when he was invited back to a job he had loved. This put a sudden stop to the bomb shelter he had been building in the basement of their Saskatoon home, the rowboat having been finished. Living in a province where “Diefenbunkers” can still be spotted if you know where to look, he too had an interest in protection from nuclear bombs.

Shortly after Russell returned from Wadena, Janet died of a massive stroke. Russell was suddenly alone and retired from his profession. His girls had left home pursuing their own lives. Still active, he became more involved in his Masonic Lodge. At the Saskatoon Community Clinic he helped transfer records to the new computers. He did phoning for the Clinic’s Diet Club where he was the lone male participant and keeper of the key to the building. He registered students for Continuing Education night classes at the University. He was an Elder and Board Member of his church and a Board Member for two other community groups. Russell was recognized for his community involvement by becoming the recipient of numerous “Life” memberships.

In his eightieth year, Russell traveled to Ontario to visit relatives. He slept in the Toronto Union Station one night as he refused to pay what he considered to be an outrageous sum of money asked for by the Royal York Hotel. He informed the clerk that he just wanted a room to sleep in overnight, not to buy the place! Remembering his modest salaries of the Thirties, and recalling the rural hotels of his working days, it likely seemed frivolous to pay the Royal York what they considered a fair price.

About the Daughters

Each of the Martin daughters had the privilege of a college education. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan and qualifying as a Laboratory Technologist, Elaine became a demonstrator in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Saskatchewan.

Elaine married Sergey Fedoroff, who became a Professor and a Professor Emeritus in the College of Medicine. The Fedoroffs have four children: Paul, Andrey, Marina and Michael, and three grandchildren: Paul, Katherine and Lucy. The Martins would be extremely proud of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Mary Jean became an educator, a career that took several interesting and challenging turns. She earned degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto and from the University of Toledo in Ohio. She first became a teacher, teaching in rural, town and city schools, then serving as an educational psychologist in the Prince Albert and later the Regina Rural Health Region. A special opportunity presented itself at Saskatchewan NewStart in Prince Albert, a federal-provincial research project for unemployed adults, where she became the Supervisor of Course Development for the Life Skills Program. At Child and Youth Services in Regina, she served as the Acting Director while the Director conducted research during the International Year of the Child. She was a consultant in curriculum development in the Department of Education.

Like her parents, Mary Jean moved frequently. In Saskatchewan, in addition to many locations with her parents, she lived in Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. In Ontario she lived in St. Catharines and Toronto. For short stays she lived in Whitehorse in the Yukon, in Victoria, B.C. and in Toledo, Ohio.

During the spring in three of her university years she taught as a substitute teacher at Ibstone School south of Battleford, at Wilkie, and at Clayton School near Peebles. At Clayton and Ibstone she gained an appreciation of what it was like to teach grades one to ten in one-room schools similar to ones her father had supervised as an inspector and superintendent. She even experienced impassable roads due to spring flooding, requiring her to walk three miles to Ibstone School and to drive a horse and buggy to Clayton School. These rural experiences served her well in life and in her career as an educational psychologist visiting rural, town and city schools.

After retirement, like her father, by invitation Mary Jean returned to work, spending a winter at the Ministry of Health in Victoria as a program consultant. After a third trip to Europe, she moved “home” to Saskatoon to officially retire. There she became involved with various groups, including becoming a board member at the Western Development Museum.

In Conclusion

The Martins came from Ontario to Saskatchewan in 1917. They called several places in Saskatchewan “home”: Regina, Bulyea, Assiniboia, Shaunavon, Sturgis, Yorkton, Sutherland and Saskatoon. To their Ontario relatives, they became “Westerners.”

Janet, who was born September 14, 1893 near Winchester, Ontario died at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, September 27, 1962 at 69 years of age. Russell, who was born March 4, 1894 near Hallville, Ontario, died at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, October 24,1981 in his 88th year. They are buried in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Saskatoon.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is “home” to the Martin daughters.

As Saskatchewan celebrates 100 years as a province, this story of the Martins salutes all teachers, study supervisors, school inspectors, school superintendents, school trustees and parents who contributed to the educational and cultural fabric of this province. They were truly “Saskatchewan’s Educational Pioneers”.