Ed Stelmach - Background

Background

Edward Michael Stelmach was born on a farm near Lamont, Alberta, the grandson of immigrants from Zavyche, Ukraine. His grandparents settled near Andrew, Alberta in 1898, after bypassing Saskatchewan because they did not care for the terrain. His parents, Nancy and Michael Stelmach, had five children, of whom Edward was the youngest, ten years younger than his closest sibling. He was raised a Ukrainian Catholic, and continues to attend church regularly, sing in the church choir, and act as volunteer caretaker for the cemetery. Through high school, he worked as a well-digger and a Fuller Brush salesman, where he said his grasp of Ukrainian helped him make sales. After graduating high school—his grade 12 yearbook called him a future Prime Minister of Canada—he attended the University of Alberta, intending to become a lawyer. He continued there, working as an assistant manager at Woodward's, until 1973, when his oldest brother, Victor, died. While his family had intended for Victor to take over the farm that his grandparents had settled 75 years before, Stelmach dropped out of university, returned home, and bought the land from his parents. He continues to farm the land today.

As a teenager, he met Marie Warshawski at the wedding of a mutual friend. They married in 1973, and have three sons and a daughter.

Stelmach entered politics in 1986 with his election to the council of Lamont County; one year later, he was appointed county reeve, a position he held until his entry into provincial politics in 1993.

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