Eva Vaselenak was born Marie Lea Yvonne Bussiere in Hardwick, Vermont in 1981. She commonly went by “Eva Lea.” Her parents descended from Quebecois farmers. The emigrated to the USA, settling in Vermont, in 1894, where they had sixteen children. Eva left home at 14-years-old boarding with strangers while working in stocking and garment factories. By 1920 she was living with her uncle, who was suffering from TB, and her aunt. She married Michael Vaselenak (1898-1963) in Chicago in 1926. They both worked for a while for the Chicago Tribune before returning with their two children to Canada, to Alberta where Michael’s parents farmed. They moved to Steveston, B.C. in 1941. Eva began working in the canneries to help support her ill daughter. She spent many years as a steward and organizer for the Fisherman’s Union. By 1951, her husband was also the local Union Organizer for the Organization of Fisherman and Shoreworkers.