Saturday, April 20, 2024
April 20, 2024


(nee Gilmore)

Born February 15, 1926 in Vancouver.  Passed away January 17, 2011 on Salt Spring Island, former BC Minister of Education, first female Deputy Premier in Canada, passionate believer in public service, and gracious pioneer for equality by deed as much as word.  Daughter of Joseph John (Paddy) Gilmore and Mary Scott. Life-long champion of the underdog and noted pacifist, Eileen stood up to anyone on the playground making fun of her brother John (Jack) Gilmore.  Joined the CCF as a 15 year-old and later the NDP. Graduate of John Oliver and the Vancouver Normal School.  At 18, began teaching in a one room schoolhouse on Denman Island.  Diminutive Eileen’s views on corporal punishment changed forever when she faced the folly of trying to strap a sturdy 17 year-old grade 8 student for running her purse up the flagpole. Taught in Burnaby until 1956 when elected to the Burnaby School Board.  Served five terms as Trustee, three as Chair.  In 1966, elected as first MLA in new riding of Burnaby North and served five terms. Respected members on both sides of the Legislature for serving their communities. BC Minister of Education and Deputy Premier with the Dave Barrett NDP government from 1972-1975.  Particularly proud of introducing mandatory kindergarten; abolishing corporal punishment in BC schools (she received death threats for “banning the strap”) and creating the first aboriginal school district (the initial grad class invited Eileen back as their honoured guest, even though she was no longer Minister).  Retired in 1987, and became the first woman named Freeman, Burnaby’s highest honour.  Eileen believed strongly in our collective and individual responsibility as citizens.  She had firm convictions, but was a team player who practiced politics and life with dignity. Ever polite, Eileen’s favourite epithet was “That so and so!”  She will be missed. Eileen is survived by son, Robert Dailly, daughter-in-law Sally and grandchildren, Brodie, Freddie, Robbie, and Roxie of Salt Spring Island; dedicated and dear friend Les Harper; nieces, Cecelia Gilmore and Alison Kwasnycia and nephew, Kevin Gilmore; cousins, Eleanor and Billy Gilmore, and sister-in-law, Berenice Gilmore. Special thanks to Sony, Jay, and Terry, the staff and friends at Somerset House in Victoria, The Royal Jubilee in Victoria, and Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island, Dr. Woodley, Dr. Goranson and a very special thanks to al the caring nurses. A memorial at the end of April will be announced at a later date.  Condolences may be offered to the family at

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Salt Spring Island
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