Myrtle Woodward Bergren nee Hawkey (27 November 1919 – 16 July 1979) was born in Devonport, England. The family immigrated to Canada in 1925 to farm in the Okanagan at Rutland. The family were very poor throughout the Depression and the farm was a failure. Myrtle left school at 13 to join her mother working on an asparagus farm and berry picking. By 1939 she’d moved out and was working as a domestic for a time before becoming a clerk in a bake shop. She also attended morning stenography classes Herbert’s Business College in Kelowna. After a short stint at the Kelowna Courier office Myrtle got a stenography job at the Princeton Courthouse, joining the Civil Servants’ Association. In 1946, after two years in the RCAF, she joined the Communist Party (influenced by Becky Buhay) and worked for six months as secretary its Provincial leader in Vancouver. Shen subsequently worked at the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) Local 171 where she met and married first Vice-President and organizer, Peder Hjalmer Bergren. In 1948, she went to work for breakaway union, the Woodworkers Industrial Union of Canada. The couple relocated to Lake Cowichan where Myrtle was active in the Women’s Auxiliary. Myrtle also ran for the Provincial Legislature in 1953 and 1956 under the banner of the Labour Progressive (Communisty) Party. Mrs. Bergren is the author of “Tough Timber” about the early organization of the IWA a book of short stories “A Bough of Needles”. She was killed in a car accident on Vancouver Island in 1979. At the time of her death she was coordinator of the “Coal Tyee” project, documenting the lives of people who worked in Vancouver Island’s mining industry.