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Petterson, Ida M. (1912–99)

Ida M. Petterson (Strom) was an Estevan businesswoman and community leader who became the first woman to serve as mayor of a Saskatchewan city. Born near Lake Alma, March 30, 1912, she was educated in local schools. In 1929 she married Knute Petterson, a farmer; they had four children. After some difficult years on the farm, she started a grocery store in Estevan that was converted in 1963 to a self-serve laundry. In 1964, Ida Petterson became a life insurance underwriter; by 1967 she was the top salesperson in Saskatchewan for Family Life.

In 1960 Petterson became the first woman to be elected to the Estevan city council, remaining on it for six years. She sat on every council committee, and worked for a new city library building and the Estevan Regional Nursing Home. In 1968 she unsuccessfully ran for mayor. In 1970, she again ran, and was elected, thereby becoming the first Saskatchewan woman to serve as mayor. Re-elected for a second term, she was defeated in 1976. Improvements made during her mayoralty included a new city hall, water and sewer upgrades, more paved streets, new curling rink, and underground sprinkler systems in parks. Despite numerous infrastructural improvements, the city’s debt load was reduced by about one-third by the end of her two terms. In 1992, she received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. She died in Estevan, February 22, 1999.

Lisa Dale-Burnett

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