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Maryon Pearson

Pearson and Maryon
Laster B. and Maryon Pearson at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, 1957

© National Archives of Canada

Maryon Pearson had the unfortunate luck of being Canada's top political wife while Jackie Kennedy was revolutionizing the role of political wife in the U.S. Jackie seemed to be everything Maryon was not: young, pretty, stylish.

Maryon chafed at the restrictions of the position, in particular, the attention to her wardrobe and the requirement to entertain at home.

She was known for her acerbic wit, interpreted by some as a sharp, unforgiving tongue. Maryon met the press rarely, but when she did, she didn't hesitate to speak her mind, not always a good quality in a political spouse.

She is well-known for the quotation, "Behind every successful man is a surprised woman."

Maryon and Lester (Mike) Pearson had one daughter, Patricia, and one son, Geoffrey. Geoffrey became a diplomat in his own right. He was an adviser on arms control and disarmament, and Canada's Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1980 to 1983. He is past president of the United Nations Association of Canada. He is married to Senator Landon Pearson.

Click below for a look at some of the better-known family members of our most recent PMs:

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