Emily Mae Nuttall nee Johnston (1913-1996) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, daughter of a Teamster. She attended college for two years intending to be a dietitian, but finances forced her to discontinue her education. She worked as a waitress in Winnipeg throughout the 1930s. In 1939, she attended business college and began work in hotel and restaurant workers trade union locals in Winnipeg, Toronto (by 1942), and Vancouver (by 1944). She married John Nuttall (-1969), a welder, in 1946. Around 1949, John stopped working due to worsening TB symptoms. Emily became the primary wage-earner. Emily lost her union position in 1946 when she and others resisted to a move to push progressives out of the union. She worked for another 30 years as a financial controller in the pulp and paper industry.