The Honourable J. Percy Page was a teacher by
profession and was the organizer and Coach of the famous Edmonton "Grads" women's basketball team.
He was also very active in Alberta provincial politics.
John Percy Page was born on May 14, 1887, at Rochester, New York. He was
the son of Absalom Bell Page and Elizabeth Thomas, Canadian citizens who had
returned to Bronte, Ontario, in 1890, where Percy was raised.
J. Percy Page attended Oakville Junior High School, Hamilton Collegiate
Institute, Ontario Normal School, and Queen's University. He held a Bachelor of
Arts degree from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Commercial Science degree
from the American Institute of Business.
On March 25, 1910, J. Percy Page married Maude Roche, daughter of Gilbert
Roche, of St. Thomas, Ontario. They had one daughter: Patricia Hollingsworth.
J. Percy Page began his teaching career at Rothesay Collegiate in Rothesay,
New Brunswick, in 1906. From 1907 to 1912, he taught at the St. Thomas
Collegiate Institute. In 1912, he was invited to Edmonton to introduce commercial
training into the high school system. He wrote the textbook Practical Office
Training in 1932 and eventually became Principal of McDougall Commercial High
School and Principal of the Commercial Section, Victoria Composite High School,
in Edmonton. He retired from teaching in 1952.
In 1914, J. Percy Page organized the Edmonton Commercial Grads women's
basketball team. Over a twenty-five year period, the "Grads" won 502 out of 522
games. They travelled internationally, playing at four Olympic meets: Paris (1924),
Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932), and Berlin (1936). They never lost a game
on these tours and held the world women's basketball title for seventeen
consecutive years. The team was disbanded in 1940 when its gymnasium was taken over
by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War II.
In 1940, J. Percy Page was elected as one of the Members for the multi-Member Edmonton electoral district of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. He
was an Independent. He was reelected in 1944, serving as Leader of the Opposition from 1944 to 1948. In 1948, he ran in the provincial election as the candidate for
the Independent Citizens' Association of Alberta, but was defeated. He was elected
as a Progressive Conservative Member in 1952, and in the same year, was appointed House Leader for the Conservatives. He was reelected as a Conservative in
June, 1955. In 1956, he was also elected to the Edmonton Public School Board. J.
Percy Page was defeated at the 1959 provincial election.
On the advice of Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, J. Percy Page was
appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta effective December 19, 1959. This
appointment was made by General Georges-Phileas Vanier, Governor General of
Canada. In 1964, his term was extended by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
During his term of service, the Lieutenant-Governor's Secretary was Captain
Gordon A. Johnston. J. Percy Page served as Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta until
his succesor was appointed effective January 6, 1966.
J. Percy Page was a member of the United Church of Canada, the Rotary
Club, the Mayfair Golf and Country Club, the Royal Curling Club, and the
Touchdown Football Club. He was a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order
of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (1961) and he received an Honorary
Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta (1961). During his political career, J. Percy Page was Vice-President and President of
the Independent Citizens' Association of Alberta, was President of the Edmonton
Unity Association, served on the Alberta Unity Council, and was President of the
Alberta Progressive Conservative Association and the Macdonald-Cartier Club.
J. Percy Page died on March 2, 1973, at Edmonton, Alberta, and was buried
in the Edmonton Cemetery. The Percy Page Centre for Recreation Associations
and a high school in Edmonton are named in his memory.