Alfred and Irma Driedger

The late Alfred Driedger spent his early years on the family farm near Osler.  He and Irma met while attending high school at what is now Rosthern Junior College. Alfred taught for a few years in a number of rural schools in the Osler area. After Irma finished her education and a short term as a teacher, they married and eventually moved to Hanley where Alfred continued his teaching career. In the fall of 1966, a few years before retirement, the couple packed up their five children and moved to Saskatoon.

Alfred enjoyed playing softball, working in the garden, and being a part-time farmer.  His passion was music though, especially choral music. He established a strong school choral program in Hanley while teaching there. Irma spent her time teaching piano to children—in addition to running the household and raising five kids. She also found time to be a seamstress for family and friends and taught sewing through the U of S Extension Department. Irma also supported Alfred’s music work by accompanying the school choirs.

Once in Saskatoon, Alfred used his music skills in various choral groups; conducting the choir at Nutana Park Mennonite Church, as music director with the Saskatoon Opera Association, as a member of the Cecilian Singers, and starting and conducting the Superannuated Teachers’ Chorus. His greatest musical joy though, was forming the Saskatoon Men’s Chorus in 1980, which he then conducted for 17 years.  Irma again was a great support in this endeavour.  Even with her health failing, she encouraged Alfred to follow his dream and start the Chorus, and managed to be the piano accompanist during its first year.

The Driedgers were already members of the Saskatoon Community Clinic when they moved to Saskatoon in 1966. The family remembers making the trip from Hanley to the city to receive their health services. Alfred and Irma believed strongly in the SCC’s primary health care cooperative model, and they were very pleased with all their doctors through their years at the Clinic. Later, when Alfred’s children helped him navigate through his health issues, his strong belief in the SCC resulted in his refusal to leave the Clinic for health services, despite the fact that access to the services he required was available closer to his home. Alfred’s family appreciated the care he received at the Clinic during this time (with a very big thank-you to Dr. Bell), as well as the multitude of services that were available to him at the SCC.

After Alfred passed in 2020 at age 96, the Driedger family advised the Clinic that a bequest to the Saskatoon Community Clinic Foundation had been included in his will. Now, it is the Clinic’s time to be grateful to Alfred and Irma Driedger for their support during their lifetimes and for providing a legacy for the future of cooperative primary health care in their community.