430 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
who had to sleep with the Quaker man’s face on them. It was a humble
beginning, one that forged a strong work ethic and a giant personality.
She didn’t see barriers. Farm raised, she was no stranger to hard work
and, as the youngest in a large competitive sisterhood, she developed a
tenacity to fight for what she wanted.
MJP is survived by one sister in Summerland, and just under 100 family
members including nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews
together with their growing families. She could name all of them.
MJP loved baseball all her life and was a good player herself, having
played senior ball for Rutland High. She won a trophy for the best batting
average. She kept up with high school friends and regularly attended Rutland
High Class of ’45 alumni dinners.
She always wanted a legal career and was encouraged by her parents to
further her education and become a lawyer, neither of which was a likely
goal or achievement for women in the 1940s. MJP went to UBC in 1946 when
the campus was full of returning soldiers. She boarded with the same family
and worked at least three jobs to pay her way: the men’s shoe department at
Hudson’s Bay (paid $0.55/hour), a cashier at Safeway and a manual labourer
in a machine shop until they realized she would be more useful in the office.
She graduated with a B.A. in history and psychology in 1950 and went
straight to law school at UBC. The law school was then housed in unheated
army huts. She was one of six women in her law class of 109 graduates,
another of whom was the Honourable Mary Southin, Q.C. MJP has said,
with regard to possible male harassment, “I gave as good as I got.” It is likely
this approach started in law school with both MJP and Mary Southin in the
same class! Nevertheless, MJP made many lasting friendships among the
male members of the law class of 1952.
MJP promptly got articles. Part of the terms of her employment was to
babysit her principal’s children! She was called to the bar in 1953 and went
into private practice as a sole practitioner in the areas of family and criminal
law until 1971. It would not be a surprise to anyone that she had strong
views. One of them was on the practice of hourly billing. She was opposed
to it. Even if you had to bill your time, she said you should look at your bill
and consider what benefit the client received from your services. If the
client had not been successful or the matter had not gone well, you should
reduce your account. Because of this approach, she claimed her accounts
were always paid.
In 1958 MJP, age 30 or so, booked a holiday at a travel agency. Having had
a very good time on the trip, she went back to the travel agency to thank the
agent, a Scot named Arthur Proudfoot. He invited her out and she surprised
herself by accepting his invitation. They married a year later.