Mayor Roy Branwood Dier

1910-1912

Mayor Roy Branwood DierRoy Branwood Dier was born February 18, 1881 in Elgin County, Ontario to William Alfred Dier and Ellen (nee Comfort). He had two older brothers, Elmore and Harry and a sister, Agnes, two years his junior. The family moved to Victoria in 1887 where the father, William was employed as a Commercial Traveler for M. Fisher & Son of Montreal, dealers in woolens. By 1901 the family is shown living at 45 Fernwood Road in Victoria in the City Directories. The father William eventually got involved in mining and passed away in Tucson, Arizona in 1914.

Roy, after attending public school in Victoria attended the Vancouver Business College then went to the United States to attend the Philadelphia Dental College. After graduation he returned to Victoria to set up a dental practice with his brother Harry, also a licensed dentist. The two brothers had their office in the prestigious Five Sisters Block at 1101 Government Street where the Bay Centre now stands. The building contained the offices of a number of Victoria’s professional elite such as architects Francis Rattenbury and Samuel Maclure. The elder brother Elmore entered the Accounting profession while younger sister, Agnes married Stanley Cameron Mcewen in Victoria on January 1, 1912.

Prior to his move to Ladysmith, Roy Dier married Gertrude C. Williams in Spokane, Washington. Gertrude was born in Waubauschene, Ontario in November 1886. They were to have three children; William Alfred born December 28, 1906, Roy B Dier born in 1908 and Ellen Stocke born in 1910.

In 1905 Roy left his brother to run the practice in Victoria and moved to Ladysmith to set up a dental practice on his own on Gatacre Street. This move proved very successful according to the Ladysmith Chronicle who provided a glowing report of the recently elected mayor in their February 19, 1910 issue. According to their article “Dentistry as practiced by him (Dier) is a fine art and he is numbered among the very best in the west.”

Dier had already served one term as alderman in Ladysmith before being elected as mayor in 1910. The following January he was re-elected as mayor by acclamation, campaigning on the need for Ladysmith to purchase the Ladysmith Waterworks Company from private owners at a cost of $65,000. The price included the complete water system, the reservoir, 324 acres of land around Stocking Lake and the 20 foot wide pipeline right of way to the town boundary. The by law was approved by a large majority later that month. Dier vacated the mayors chair just in time as his successor, George Hillier had to face the Great Coal Mines Strike which took place between 1912 and 1914.

Dier ran as Conservative candidate for the Newcastle riding in both the 1912 and 1916 provincial elections but was defeated by well known Socialist candidate, Parker Williams. He remained active in Ladysmith civil affairs serving as Chairman of the School Board. In November, 1913, the Ladysmith Hospital received a generous donation of $2,000 from the provincial government due to a visit to the capital by J. Stewart, R.B. Dier and I.E. Lowe seeking aid for the institution. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and enjoyed motoring, hunting and shooting.

In October, 1916 the family immigrated to the United States sailing to San Diego then eventually settling in Los Angeles, California. Tragically, their oldest son, William died in Prescott, Arizona on August 25, 1922 of Pulmonary Tuberculosis at 15 years of age. He was buried in Los Angeles.

Roy Branwood Dier passed away in Los Angeles, California on February 24, 1955.

PHOTOGRAPH SOURCE: Who’s Who in Western Canada, A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume I. 1911. Edited by C. W. Parker. Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, Portland : Canadian Press Association, Limited.