Her People

A record of the people connected to Anahareo, by blood or by choice.


This page provides additional details about the people who were significant to Anahareo and, in some cases, Grey Owl. Some members also have more in depth pages of their own, which can be accessed via links on this page.

• Isobel "Billie" Leduc  • Wilna Moore  • Betty "Summy" Somervell  • The Winters Family

Isobel "Billie" LEDUC

Isobel "Billie" Leduc (referred to as Isabella by Anahareo) was the social secretary at the island resort, Camp Wabikon, when Anahareo took a vacation there in 1925. Recognizing in her a kindred spirit, Isobel took Anahareo under her wing; Anahareo returned this affection, following her about "like a young puppy." At the end of the vacation, Isobel offered Anahareo a job, convincing Anahareo's aunt that she would act as a chaperone for the remainder of the summer. Anahareo's official duties were light, and she was able to take part in many of the leisure activities offered at the resort. It was during this time that Anahareo met Grey Owl. (Source: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo) 


Wilna Moore, a high school teacher and former mission worker from Saskatoon, met Anahareo, then a single mother in dire financial straits, in 1937. Wilna helped arrange a place for this daughter, Ann, in a Salvation Army residence for unwed mothers. Wilna was a relatively constant presence in Anahareo's life for many years, and was even referred to as "aunt" by Anahareo's youngest daughter, Katherine. Though well-meaning, Wilna's paternalistic approach to the relationship was undoubtedly coloured by the prevailing racial attitudes of the day. (Source: Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson) 

Betty "Summy" SOMERVELL

Betty Somervell, known to her friends as "Summy," met Grey Owl during his first tour of Great Britain, when she offered to drive him to his next lecture after the car he was in was involved in a minor accident. She subsequently acted as the driver for the remainder of his tour, allowing him to avoid travelling by train -- which he hated -- and then accompanied him back to Canada. At Grey Owl's invitation, Betty visited Beaver Lodge on Ajawaan Lake in 1936, which is where she first met Anahareo. (See Grey Owl Society Bulletin No. 26 for an excerpt from one of her letters home.) The two hit it off, and Betty became Anahareo's close confidante. In Anahareo's darkest years, Betty provided what financial support she could and paid for her to travel to England for a month's visit in 1938, during which time Anahareo met Grey Owl's mother. Betty also convinced Anahareo that the best way to defend Grey Owl's reputation was to write a book about him. (Source: Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo and Anahareo: A Wilderness Spirit, K. Gleeson) 

The WINTERS Family

Ettie Winters ran a boarding house in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan that catered to Waskesiu parks warden and it was at the suggestion of a mutual friend, Charlie Walrod, that she undertook to teach Anahareo about baby care after Dawn's birth. The Winters' became Anahareo's surrogate family, and took care of Dawn when Anahareo was unable to. Two of the Winters children, Stan and Margaret, were asked by Grey Owl to help him when he was under pressure to finish his book, Tales of an Empty Cabin; Margaret typed the manuscript, and Stan cared for the beavers while Grey Owl wrote. Anahareo later wrote the following of her friendship with the Winters family: "I won't elaborate on the close relationship that existed between the Winters family and ours, as I will never be able to put into words our deep appreciation for Mrs. Winters' devotion to Shirley Dawn. We have been fast friends for thirty-four years." (Source: Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl, Anahareo)