University Archives & Special Collections, A-10070. (Patrick Hayes)

John Diefenbaker Buried on Campus

Alumnus, lawyer, politician, Prime Minister, Chancellor: John George Diefenbaker was many things, but he was always a friend of the University of Saskatchewan.

On Wednesday, Aug. 22, 1979, six days after his death in Ottawa, he returned for one last time to the campus that had been such an important part in his life. First he lay in state in Convocation Hall for the morning and much of the afternoon. His casket was then carried across campus to a site adjacent to the Diefenbaker Centre, then under construction.

In this photo, the RCMP guard and the hearse carrying him pass in front of the Education Building on the way from Convocation Hall to the burial site.

In a ceremony that included Prime Minister Joe Clark, Premier Alan Blakeney, dozens of dignitaries and hundreds of mourners, Mr. Diefenbaker and his late wife Olive were buried on the grassy knoll overlooking the South Saskatchewan River. Mrs. Diefenbaker’s remains had been exhumed from their former resting place in Ontario and were buried beside her husband’s at his request.

The Diefenbaker Centre was officially opened in June 1980. The building is a combination archives and museum housing the papers, library and memorabilia of Mr. Diefenbaker.   

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