Besse Barbara (Graham) Damberger




Life and Work

Besse Damberger walked between her home and the Up-To-Date School countless times. As secretary-treasurer at the school her children attended, she helped at school concerts, sports days and cleaning. She played the piano at school house dances, accompanied by her husband Max on the violin.

Besse Graham came to Donalda in 1912 from Wisconsin to visit her brothers. She met Max Damberger, they married a year later and in 1920 moved to the farm. They endured the dust storms of the dry years, turning back the bleakness of the time with music and friendship.

She belonged to the Ladies' Aid Society, the Rebekah Lodge and the Donalda Cemetery Club. As with the school, the privilege of holding office in these organizations entailed making quilts, baking pies and cakes and tending graves at the cemetery.

Besse Damberger's life and work joins that of the many women who shaped their communities and province.


Letter of Appreciation by Sharron Scott

We shared great times. She listened to my endless chatter and in my pauses shared the comedy and tragedy of family stories.

She taught me many things - to sew my first dress using the treadle sewing machine, to play the piano, how to picnic with style, to set the table properly for special occasions and to operate the old cylinder gramophone in the cellar. And she always carried Lifesavers and gum in her purse for her grandchildren.

There was something powerful in her ability to share freely with others.

- Sharron Scott, granddaughter